Wayne W. Stell, Albuquerque, New Mexico
The Firm Foundation (June 8, 1946)
In years past, the greatest need of the church was to pay local evangelists a wage or salary comparable to that drawn by other members of the congregation. Now, however, that problem has been successfully met and settled. The “moss-backs” who were prone to complain at paying evangelists a living salary have now started in on the very few congregations that have paid song loaders. Recently there appeared in one of the leading church papers a crudely veiled insinuation against hiring a song leader.
I have only this to say about the matter. The preaching is no more important than the singing and the singing no more important than the preaching. They both share equally in the worship of the Lord. Show me a congregation that has good singing and I will show you a congregation that has good preaching. There are still a few preachers who minimize the importance of the song service; and directing the singing for such a person, is far from enjoyable.
In order to have an acceptable song service, a good leader must direct the congregation. In order for the leader to direct as he should, he must be trained. Training costs money. Money is the stuff that fills a song leader’s stomach; the same stuff fills a preacher’s stomach; the same stuff sends chills up and down some church leaders’ spines!
Now, I do not wish to be misunderstood. I am not looking for a job. I simply say that if a congregation is suffering from lack of leadership in singing, then that congregation should exert every effort to obtain a man who is qualified to direct in an acceptable manner.
In order that there might be less discussion about the matter, the whole thing may be summed up thusly: Each individual congregation should institute a plan whereby young men of the church could be given the training necessary to qualify them ns song leaders. Not just someone to stand in front of the congregation and call out the numbers, but someone who can mold the singing of the members in such a fashion that it will glorify God and inspire all who hear.
When this is done – and the song service is really a song service – outsiders will stop saying that if we used the instrument we could have better singing. And, believe you me, some of the singing which I have heard is just about as acceptable as the organ-directed type – which isn’t!