There are so many articles and commentaries out there about how worship pastor’s should be aware of the needs of his congregation. Music should not be too loud, should be in a key that is comfortable for everyone to sing, should mix styles to accommodate everyone’s preferences. Man, I would hate to be in charge of all that… because you definitely can not please everyone all of the time. Imagine the pressure!
So, I just want to give you the perspective of a choir member. We always hear about the needs of the congregation. I want you to hear our side… offer a different perspective for you to ponder.
We practice. We stay late… we arrive early… really early! We practice together and most of us practice on our own during the week. We (hopefully speaking for most choirs) have leaders that encourage us not just to sing the song, but to experience the words behind them. Feel them. “Worthy is the lamb who was slain holy, holy is He…” “The mountains shake before him, the demons run and flee, at the mention of the name King of Majesty…” (I could go on, but hopefully, you get the point.)
We work hard to make the songs sound
nice awesome. So, that not only you would enjoy them, but most important, God would enjoy them. I personally don’t want God looking down at me singing and think “wow, she must not think too much of me.” I want God to hear us singing and say “WOW… MORE PLEASE!”
I know that you get distracted because someone is swaying, clapping, or moving too much… the guitar is too electric… the drums are too loud… the song isn’t a traditional hymn… the lights are too colorful… the people are wearing jeans… whatever.
But, let me tell you what distracts us. YOU. I am trying to give God all I have and I look out into the congregation and see… YOU. You are scowling, you are making weird faces, you are not singing, you have your arms crossed, you are not participating, you are miserable. I tell you, we, as a choir, don’t get it. How can we pour ourselves out to our Creator and get that kind of response? We try not to look at you, but are drawn like driving by a train wreck. We are just trying to figure out how it is happening. We try to re-focus… close our eyes as not to see you (which probably irritates you as well)… because ultimately we are singing for God, not you. But, it would be nice if you pretended to enjoy it or at least not detest it.
I know that you may not like the instruments or the song choice, but you know what? God gave us all gifts and wants us to use them all for His glory. Some have the ability to preach, to teach, to sing, but also to play the guitar, the drums, and even the trumpet. We should ALL use our gifts… not just the ones that you prefer.
There is comfort in this story. YOU are the minority. For every scowl we see, there are way more souls in total happiness. They have pleasant faces, arms up, singing, clapping, totally participating. It is awesome.
I get that we can’t please everyone all the time, but I wish that we could please you at least once. If we can’t, what in the world are you going to do when you get to Heaven and everyone is singing, clapping, swaying, playing? Maybe use us as practice for when you get there. Maybe step outside yourself for a moment and consider how someone else sees you… most of all God.
“Praise the Lord. Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of his faithful people.” Psalm 149:1
Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp.” Psalm 149:3