According to retired Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary professor Marlene Kropf, singing is the most important thing that happens in Mennonite worship.
We gather as a community by singing, we offer our prayers and praise through song, we proclaim the Word with music, and we leave worship singing. Music is the through-line that holds a service together. It is our most profound connection with God.
Though many Mennonite congregations use instrumental accompaniment on Sunday morning, the human voice is still the most important instrument. Song leaders often direct congregational singing in four parts, with the whole congregation functioning as a choir does in other traditions. Mennonites love to sing a wide variety of music – traditional hymns, chants, gospel songs, folk songs, anthems, international music, Celtic songs, and even jazz and rock. We borrow freely from many musical traditions and nurture composers from within our congregations as well. Our main criteria for choosing music is its singability and its fit with the focus and purpose of a worship service.
– Marlene Kropf, associate professor in spiritual formation and worship, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Ind.
From Singing: A Mennonite Voice by Marlene Kropf and Kenneth Nafziger. Copyright 2001 by Herald Press, Scottdale, PA 15683. All rights reserved. Used by permission.