The Importance of Singing in Spiritual Formation

Andy Crouch (2017) makes an interesting point about the wholistic nature of singing and its contribution to our spiritual formation:

Worship is more than singing, of course. But there is something about singing that is fundamental to Jewish and Christian worship – starting with the Psalms, continuing with the hymns that grew out of the early church and the renewal and revival movements of subsequent centuries, finding new expression in the chants of Christian slaves in the American South, and abounding even today in a profusion of “worship music.”

Simply, singing may be the one human activity that most perfectly combines heart, mind, soul, and strength. Almost everything else we do requires at least one of these fundamental human faculties: the heart, the seat of the emotion and the will; the mind, with which we explore and explain the world,; the soul, the heart of human dignity and personhood; and strength, our bodies’ ability to bring about change in the world. But singing (and maybe only singing) combines them all. When we sing in worship, our minds are engaged with the text and what it says about us and God, our hearts are moved and express a range of emotions, our bodily strength is required, and – if we sing with “soul” – we reach down into the depths of our beings to do justice to the joy and heartbreak of human life. (pp. 190-191)

Crouch, A. (2017). The tech-wise family: Everyday steps for putting technology in its proper place. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.