Singing Lessons from the Methodists

About 40 years before Henry and Sealy Fourdrinier invented the papermaking machine, UMC hymnals had instructions printed in them. The year was 1761. John Wesley gave his Methodists some direction on how they were to sing in church. The problems he was addressing still challenge us today. 

Here are some of his instructions, only slightly modernized. 
What if this was in every church bulletin?

Sing Together–  join the congregation as frequently as you can. Don’t let a slight cold* or a busy life hinder you. (Singing > Soccer) If coming out when you don’t feel up to it is a cross to you, take it up and you will find a blessing. (*if however, you children come with any color of snot resembling the Sprite logo, please don’t send them to Sunday school...keep them with you.)

Sing Heartily– and with good courage. Don’t let yourself sing as if you were half-dead or half-asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, than when you sang at karaoke last week.

Sing Modestly– do not holler so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of the congregation that you may not destroy the harmony, but work to unite your voices together so as to make one melodious sound.

Sing in time– whatever time is sung, be sure to keep with it*. Do not run before and do not stay behind it; but attend closely to the leading voices and move together exactly as you can and take care not to sing too slow. This dawdling naturally appeals to those who are lazy; and it is high time to drive it out from among us and sing all our tunes just as quick as we did at first. (*it’s 2018...stop saying you can’t learn to sing syncopated rhythms 🤣)

Sing spiritually– have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing Him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; let your singing be worthy of the calling with which you were called and echo the joy that awaits you in heaven.

Let’s lead our congregations to become this kind of worshipers!

- Dave

ps. You can see the original ones here.