Recently while we were out running some errands my son turned to me and asked, “Dad, why do you say ‘Amen’ and other stuff in church?” I smiled at him and replied with the fatherly, “I want Pastor to know that I agree!” The day progressed and we finished the errand we had run so that we could also finish the project that we had been working on that day.
As the day came to a close I started to ponder that question; why DO I say “Amen” and other “stuff” in church.
Now, I write this having done NO deep research on the subject, and my list below is not based on any pointed Scriptural passages but I do believe they can be supported through Scriptural principles, and they are definitely NOT in any specific order. I also write them with the understanding that there are those who feel that they should not say anything in church, and then there are those who would say “it’s just not my personality to speak out in church.” Though I do understand that it may not be someones personality to do so; I cannot understand why someone would think it improper for anyone to say “Amen” of some other expression of praise, or agreement, during a service.
This list is not designed to make people feel that if they do not say “Amen” and other “stuff” (as my ten-year-old son put it) that they are not right with God. Haha! That’s ridiculous. I know many very godly men who may express their agreement, but definitely do not do it as loudly as me, or some others that may come to mind as you read this blog.
I also have no desire to encourage someone to become obnoxious during any service. Our shout should never become distracting, take away focus from the message being preached or the song being sung, and it should NEVER be to draw attention to one’s self.
I would like for my list to provoke thought for those who may feel the urge, but refrain from doing so because they get embarrassed. Maybe the reader is a new believer and feels the shout, but stops because of what others may think. Maybe you are reading this and somewhere along the way you “lost your shout.”
We do need to get the shout back in the congregations of our Independent Fundamental Baptist churches. Not a shout because the preachers looks out and says, “somebody say Amen or we will be here all night!” Some preachers do that for fun, and there is humor to it. However, I too, have sat in services where the speaker is dead and they simply thrive on the “shout” and since there is no Spirit-led shout they have to fabricate their own in order to “feel better about themselves.” That tactic is not Spiritual and shall be left for a possible different blog post. [rabbit trail stops there – back to my post :-)]
As I sat there, here is the list that I came up with as to why I say “Amen” and other stuff in church (such as “Praise the Lord,” “What a Saviour,” “Praise God,” “Wonderful,”…)
- My spirit identifies with the Spirit of the preacher or singer.
- I want my Pastor to know he is not alone in the true, powerful, or even pointed statement he just made.
- I’m OK with other’s knowing that I am in agreement.
- I’m listening to the words of the song and am uplifted by its truth.
- It may help others feel like they can shout too. (We are instructed to “be thou an example of the believers”…)
- It keeps the scorner from thinking I am not enjoying it like they are not enjoying it. (Basically, it keeps the scorner from thinking they can talk to me about what they didn’t like about the service because it was very obvious that I was on the same page as the leader.)
- It encourages the preacher or singer.
- I want my family to know that I agree with what the Pastor is saying!
- I want to get some practice for when I get to Heaven. (I do believe that we will be giving a LOT of verbal praise to God when we get there…might as well get ready down here while we wait for His return!)
- I can’t help but shout when my Spirit-filled Pastor, a Spirit-filled guest preacher, or Spirit-filled singer starts preaching or singing about my God, my Saviour, my Lord…whew, sometimes I just can’t help by shout “Hallelujah” when Jesus is made the focus and the Spirit of God starts to move within my soul!
What a joy it is to sit in a service and there is shout from not just the pulpit, but there is a shout from the pew as well! So, these are just the thoughts I had while pondering my son’s question, “Dad, why do you say ‘Amen’ and other stuff in church?”
Happily married to Sarah G, the father of three incredible children.