What Are 3D Affections?

Charles is our band leader (pictured with wife Ash and daughter Poppy and +1 child on the way). We asked him a few questions about music at church.

Q: What if I’m not a ‘singing’ kind of person?

A: It may surprise you to know that outside God’s gathered people, I’m possibly the least sing-y person ever. Karaoke is my worst nightmare. So when I got to a concert or a gig – we went to see Ed Sheeran for my birthday – I sit there with my arms crossed, sit back and enjoy. People think that I am HATING it – I don’t sing, don’t dance – I’m LOVING it on the inside. But I’m not a particularly sing-y person. So that’s me.

Q: You’ve recently been talking about ‘3D affections’. What is that?

A: Yep, I’ve been thinking hard about music and trying to view it in a fresh way. 3D affections is a framework that’s been really helpful to me. What if re-conceptualised our affections, which are connected to our emotions but are something deeper, in these 3 dimensions:


There is a depth to our affections. Do you know the song ‘Fix You’ by Coldplay? When that song comes on, everyone cries. It moves you. How much more reason do we have to be deeply moved by the gospel! The love of God, Christ’s death for us, the hope of the resurrection – that has such potential to move us so much more than Coldplay.


We don’t just have one emotion in life. In life we go through different emotions. Part of the role of singing in church is to capture the spectrum of emotions. Joy – we want to be happy! But it’s also natural to lament and say ‘life is hard, and I just feel like crying, but God is still good’. And so you may not be smiling and chipper, but that is an affection that we have been called to be holy in as Christians.


Another dimension that we sometimes miss is that we do this together. It’s not just me feeling and thinking these things. It’s us together.


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