Let’s talk …
Right now, Joey and I are in between churches. We feel led to join a church that we’ve been visiting but we haven’t been able to get to the required class for membership yet because of illness and Joey’s surgery in August. Once we can get there and join, I plan to get in the choir. I’ve been on a break since March from singing in church, except for Memorial Day weekend when I sang with my Dad and sister at my Dad’s new church. The break has been just what I needed.
I was thinking last week that I’ve been actively singing solos, serving in the choir and on praise teams for 20 years. I was blessed to be allowed to share special music at the church of my teen years from the time I was about 10. We had two senior adult Sunday school classes who would have special music as a part of their morning assembly time before they broke up into their small classes. Oh what those sweet people had to endure in those early years as they gave this opportunity to a young girl who took a nervous breath between each sung word and would keep her head buried in the hymnal as she sang. They were always so gracious with their words and smiled like they were hearing Sandi Patty and not Melody Mullins. I didn’t realize until now how much I look forward to seeing so many of their sweet faces in heaven someday.
As I thought about the break I’ve been on, I found myself acknowledging some of things that make singing in church hard and I decided to share them with you.
- There is a fine line between worship and a performance. There has been many a time that I’ve found myself repenting in the middle of a song because my heart was not in the right place. I was going through the motions and concerned about other things. Leading is an honor. I often hid away before the service would start to prepare my heart for worship and to avoid any “lighthearted” gossip or complaints. It is my responsibility to make sure that I am approaching it from a place of humility and reverence to the Lord. One way I do this is by protecting my heart and mind before the service. Pastors need the same thing. Feel free to wait until after Sunday to bring any drama or concerns to their attention.
- This is not a job. Most people are not paid to be up there every Sunday. This is an offering and act of service to the Lord, not to the congregation. These are human beings who need breaks and should take breaks. I’ve been blessed to serve on a rotation when I’ve served on a praise team. For me personally, that is the only way I’ll serve on a praise team. I burn out way too easily otherwise and I don’t want to keep others from having the opportunity to serve.
- People pick their favorites. It’s inevitable … I guarantee you that you have a voice or two that you love hearing sing on Sunday mornings. You even have songs that you hope they sing and are sometimes disappointed when they aren’t the one who sings it. We all do it but we don’t need to tell them that. I’ve overheard people complain when I’ve been used too much on a Sunday or when I’ve been used too little. I giggled because I do it for the Lord, not them (Colossians 3:23-24). It’s an awkward compliment in church and can breed a spirit of competition that has no place in the worship ministry to mention the church as a whole.
- We do not own the songs we sing. I have been told that I took another praise team member’s song after I was asked by the worship pastor to lead out on it. I have never asked to sing a solo or lead out on a song and never will. I trust that the Lord will lay on the worship pastor’s heart the right person for that song. I have fallen in love with songs that weren’t mine to sing and that’s ok. I have been told that a song should have been mine and the reality is that puts the focus on the talent rather than the message of the song. The only song that is mine and can never be stolen from me is that “I am redeemed by the blood of Lamb, His child forever I am”!
- We are more than our voices. We do more than sing. At some point we may be aged out of leading on a song. For some churches (not all), it’s more important to have the optics of younger singers leading out on worship to draw in the younger crowd. It is what it is. We have lives, families, and struggles too that cause us to step away from singing for various seasons and reasons. We are more than our voices.
So those are just a few of things that make singing hard … at least they do for me and the Lord may never use me in this way again. I’m completely open to His leading. But my prayer is for this to serve as a reminder to pray for those singing in the choir, the praise team, or on a solo (you should already be praying for your Worship Pastor, duh!). Ask the Lord to bless their families, their health, and this season of ministry that they are in. Allow the Lord to use them as He sees fit. Enjoy and even be blessed by the gifts and talents the Lord has bestowed upon them but don’t let that overshadow your own expression of worship and preparing your heart to receive the Word.