I found this at Mars Hill’s website – probably one of the most down to earth write ups on worship music and singing in the church. If it wasn’t for copyright infringement, I’d put it right on our website:
A big group of people singing together is odd. It really is. Other than a baseball game or occasional birthday party, people don’t usually stand around and sing. But we do every Sunday at church. Why? For starters it is a part of our history and tradition. We come from a long line of people who sing to and about God. From King David to Martin Luther to Bono, men and women have often expressed their faith, whether in painful cries or through gushing praise, with singing. The reasons behind this aren’t always clear, but the power of music is undeniable. It seems to tap into deeper and more honest places than words alone ever could. It has been said that music is the language of the soul. We believe it.
So when we meet together as a community of faith, it seems only natural that we would try to use this language of the soul to connect with God and each other. Sometimes the songs are directed upward in celebration of the infinite love and greatness of God. And on those days we sing at the top of our lungs to thank and praise Him for who he is and what he does and also to remind each other that we serve the King of all Kings. Other times the songs are more personal and reflective, giving us an opportunity to connect intimately with our Creator. This looks different for everybody but can involve confessing sin, inviting God to heal us or asking for wisdom and direction, any expression that naturally flows out of our experience. We want our worship to be both grounded in real life and reaching outward to the eternal.
Does music = worship? No. In spite of the fact that 99% of our “worship times” are singing, these words are not interchangeable. Music is to worship as Q-tips are to cotton swabs: one form of a bigger thing. We can sing without worshiping God, and we can worship God without singing. Ultimately, worship is an activity of the heart. Words, songs and actions are simply expressions.