Singing after a sermon?

There’s a little discussion about this issue happening at a blog by Daniel of Central Coast Evangelical Church. Since I commented saying that I might mull over the issue here, I decided that following through would be most prudent.

As I commented, I think that there often needs to be flexibility in a service to allow for the need for personal reflection after a sermon. The majority of services at St Thomas’ tend to have a song after the sermon, and some have our prayer time following. Also at times the sermon may flow into communion.Thus it’s sort of a mixed bag, with no real consistent thing that happens once the sermon has come to a close.

It’s a bit of a lottery in knowing what to do after a talk, because only the preacher really has any sort of idea of how people will respond at the end of their talk by virtue of their application. Some may end it with a robust call to praise God, in which case I think a song of praise can be helpful in allowing people to do so. Furthermore, a talk may well leave people in a mood of self examination, in which case a period of a few minutes of personal reflection would be the right way to go.

A particular example that I’ll cite happened up at Katoomba Youth Leaders Convention a few years ago during one of the night sessions, where Peter Lin preached from the book of Hosea. His closing point was the sort that strikes you between the eyes (sadly I can’t quite remember the content, but it was very powerful and challenging), and it was awkward because the song that had been selected to follow the talk was quite an upbeat one, and I recall vividly that there was an impromptu few minutes added where all that were present could digest what they had just heard. It enabled the song to be sung with such gusto and passion, and it was very evident from my position as part of the band that the reflection time had served its purpose very well.

I’m leading night church for the first time next week, and this question has been one that I have considered deeply as I’ve been planning my service schedule. It’s prompted me to make sure that if it seems appropriate, I include a spot for personal reflection immediately following the talk. In that silence, with ideas and challenges still fresh in everyone’s mind, I think that they will be more ready to do business with God if the message that he brings through Richard (our minister) is one that calls for self examination. Because we’re going through Revelation (in particular the middle to latter stages where John’s vision climaxes to reveal God’s final judgement and wrath), I’m feeling that it may well be that sort of response that is needed. I do plan to find out what the main point of Richard’s talk is so that I can turn the pencilling in into an inked rubber stamped certainty.

So in conclusion, I’d say that there is a time for singing after a sermon, but if it is felt that going directly into a song would disrupt the manner in which the Spirit is moving in the hearts of God’s people, service leaders should take the chance to let the Spirit do his work most expediently.


One Response

  1. i like sing sitting down after the sermon gives people time to pray or think. we need to do more singing sitting down at Cranebrook Anglican Church

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