Songs, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs
“16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” －Colossians 3:16-17
Every weekend at HDC, we gather together on all our campuses as an act of worship. As you know well, this gathering consists of singing, teaching, and fellowship. Have we ever paused to wonder why? If all we are coming to church for is to hear our favorite worship song and hear an inspirational message, I think we are selling ourselves short of God’s purposes for gathering in the local church. Personally, I believe the local church is less about a place to attend; rather, as followers of Christ, it is a family we belong to. And if you are reading this right now, it is likely a family that YOU belong to.
In the book of Colossians, Paul encourages us and provides instruction for our worship. There’s a couple main things here I’d love to bring to the surface.
1. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly
I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but about a decade ago, I was guilty of leaning too much into the seeker-sensitive movement in the church. I believed that we should make our worship services simple so that more people could understand. As a worship leader, this would mean shying away from songs or phrases that could be confusing to someone who does not know Jesus － phrases like referring to Christ as “the lion and the lamb” or things referring to the blood of Jesus. While I’m sure unbelievers within us might not know what those phrases mean and that we probably meant well, this was ultimately not a good thing. We were selling ourselves short of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. This was an entire movement in the church in the early 2010s that is still very much alive in many churches today. Paul instructs us to let the message of Christ dwell among us richly. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation for everyone that believes (Romans 1:16). Let us let it dwell among us richly!
2. Songs, hymns, and spiritual songs
Our worship leaders have been working very hard to deepen our experience on the weekends. Simply put, we want to see the truth of God elevated in the hearts of everyone in our church. We want to sing the truth of God’s Word with boldness and passion. We want YOU as you attend church to join in and sing the praises of God together in a meaningful way. We have three main goals every weekend for our worship services.
- We want to glorify God.
- This is probably self-explanatory. As you see in verse 17 above, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus. This is first and foremost. We are here for him. The church exists for him, for his glory. I believe that a church that is satisfied in the glory of God and seeking the glory of God is going to experience the glory of God.
- We want to encourage and equip believers.
- High Desert Church is made up of people from all walks of life － multiple generations, backgrounds, ethnicities, etc. When you leave on Sundays, we don’t see it as you leaving the church. The church is leaving to go out and engage the world. We want your experience on the weekends to remind you of the truth of God’s Word, encourage you to magnify the Lord and consider how He wants to work in your life. And then when you leave, that you would be empowered to engage your relational world with the truth of the gospel. If we as worship leaders and teams are just putting on a show and showing off our skills as musicians, I believe we are not meeting this goal.
- We want to compel non-believers.
- We recognize that every single weekend that we gather, it is highly likely that unbelievers (those who have never placed their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation) are among us. We embrace this. We want them to see a church of passionate worship, that is passionate about receiving the truth of God’s Word from one of our pastors, and passionate about loving one another. Our goal is that when we do this well, God will use it to draw them to himself and want to be a part of what he’s doing here.
With all that said, I want to share a resource with you. After services I am often asked about the process of choosing songs for the church, what the name of a certain song was, or if I’ve heard this song or that song. The truth is, there’s a whole lot of amazing worship music that we want you to know about. Our worship pastors at HDC are not big radio listeners. So, I put together a playlist of all of the songs that you would hear on a regular basis at High Desert Church no matter which campus you call home － Victorville, Apple Valley, or Hesperia. We want you to be equipped with the ability to learn these songs so that you can sing loudly with us on the weekends. We want to fulfill Colossians 3:16, that we would teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.