How do you get men to sing in worship? And I mean really sing.
Sing of God's judgment. Of His justice triumphing over wicked men...
The Sea Island Singers' "Sign of the Judgment" (No. 48) is an example. In the old days the Day of Judgment was a frequent subject of the church's hymnody. Today it's rarely mentioned.
"Hiding Place" (No. 3 here) is Good Shepherd Band's fearsome contribution to the genre. Here's a similar piece by Boston Camerata titled the "Harvest Hymn." Click on the "Listen to Samples" link and check out number six.
Then too, men understand the Imprecatory Psalms. Check out "The Psalms of David, Vol. 1." Click through the "Listen to Samples" link and check out No. 11 which is Psalm 130, "By the Waters of Babylon."
Shout singing, Anglican chant, shapenote singing, bluegrass (here's one of my favorites), electric guitars and drums are what is needed in Reformed churches today if we're ever to have our hymns, songs, and spiritual songs yoked together with our preaching to the strengthening and masculine zeal of both.
Too, there's always a capella. It can be very manly, especially if we stick with unison like Bonhoeffer suggests in Life Together. Unison enfranchises even atonal men.
Have you ever listened to the worship of the Manchester United men? They sing their guts out in praise of their impotent god. But listen to the video at your own risk. Likely a good bit of it is obscene, but I think you're safe through the first two minutes.
In his classic A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, William Law points out that, despite what any man gives as his excuse for not singing in worship, no man born has ever been a non-singer because there's no man alive who doesn't sing when he's in the pub with a few under his belt.
If you can't take any of the positive steps outlined above, here's an excellent negative one that may start you down the road to the positive.
Get rid of the femmy tickling of ivories and half-hearted fifty-year-old guy strumming his guitar behind the comely woman with the mic who's breathily sighing of her "passion" for Jesus. It's the genre of something I don't want to say and should never ever be allowed in the Household of Faith. Kill it in the service of God.
Another idea: start holding a Lord's Day afternoon gymanfa ganu (more here) like we took part in when we served a yoked parish of Presbyterian churches near the Welsh community of Cambria, Wisconsin. Good listening. (TB)