Review: Tune My Heart to Sing Thy Grace: Worship Renewal Through Congregational Singing

Tune My Heart to Sing Thy Grace: Worship Renewal Through Congregational SingingTune My Heart to Sing Thy Grace: Worship Renewal Through Congregational Singing by Paul B. Clark Jr.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Although written from a different Christian tradition than that to which I belong – the author is a (US) Southern Baptist – there is still much to be mined in this volume which is applicable to the concept of congregational singing. Parts of what Clark writes I disagree with but his passion for the place of congregational singing in Christian worship is patently evident.

For anyone involved in the preparation of the worship activities of Christians, this book provides both challenge and affirmation, is well-written and accessible, and worthy of being found on their bookshelf.

From the back cover:

Music has a way of speaking into our lives, giving unique expression to the highest moments of celebration, the lowest depressions of the human spirit, and the common experiences that define an average day. We all know that music is an integral part of the worship experience, but Paul Clark takes it a step further, urging readers to seek actual worship renewal through congregational singing.

What does it mean to “sing in tune with God’s grace”? How does singing by oneself, in private worship, differ from singing with a small group of fellow worshippers, with congregations, or during festival worship? What criteria should be used when selecting music fro each kind of experience? Distinguishing between worship that is people-centered – that is, that meets our needs and is pleasing to us – and worship that is God-centered, Clark offers pastors, lay leaders, and music ministers biblically sound guidelines and inspiration for their thinking as they plan and lead worship. Along the way, he sheds new light on the dynamics of what is happening when a congregation finds it voice and sings.

Tune My Heart to Sing Thy Grace goes beyond simply dealing with issues of musical style. Through biblical reflections and practical considerations, it encourages the reader to plumb the depths of one of the most cherished activities of spiritual endeavor: singing worship. With greater understanding comes bolder, more enthusiastic participation and the potential for continuous renewal of the worship experience.

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