A university friend of mine named Jeremy ran into a problem while pastoring a few college students: “We were all hanging around the bonfire, and one of the guys pulled out a guitar because people wanted to sing praise songs, but nobody could think of any songs they knew the words to, so we started singing DC Talk, which eventually led to Taylor Swift.”
While I definitely have no issue with singing pop songs around a bonfire, I sympathize with my friend’s dilemma. His church sang beautiful, theologically robust songs on Sunday; but the Church had a difficult time bringing those songs with them outside the church doors.
My friend asked, “What things are we trying to accomplish in music that don’t get fully accomplished through preaching, prayer, offering, etc.?” Implicitly he was asking why we aren’t singing songs that contain singable tunes, theological truths, and memorable lyrics that can sustain us through the week.
While I believe that music has many purposes for the church, I believe that one of them is to take God’s truth with us so that at a moment’s notice when we are feeling hostility at home or in our work environment or if we are gathered around a bonfire, we can be sustained by truth and united in our worship through song.
This Sunday we will be singing “A Shield About Me” from Psalm 3. I would consider it an ideal “bonfire song.” What other songs would you recommend as simple songs that are beautiful to sing, full of truth, and simple enough to remember at a moment’s notice?
– Matthew Hoppe