Before I get into this, I’m admitting that I know I’m wrong. I know I’m selfish. And I know that worshiping God is something that comes from the soul, so it doesn’t matter how well you sing.
Okay? I get it.
But, seriously, I just can’t stand it when the people leading the worship team aren’t good at what they’ve volunteered to do.
I recently attended a conference at a church in Oklahoma City, and there was a band to lead worship. I’m not aware if this was a one-time collection of people for this conference, a worship band that travels with the conference, or the worship team from the church the conference was held at.
The band was great, but the lead vocalist was… I’m sorry… the WORST lead singer of all time.
Firstly, he was a bass, or a baritone at best, so all the songs were in a terribly low key making singing along difficult for everyone.
Secondly, he was off key more than he was on, because he was trying to do all the fun special harmonies that good singers do. Emphasis on “trying.”
Thirdly, his timing was terrible. There were several songs where you sang a line, then there was a pause, then you sang the next line, but he never waited the full pause out. He would come back in halfway through, confusing everyone, including his band who then had to jump up two measures every time he did it. And he never caught on to this fact. He did it several times in the same song, over and over again.
Lastly, before every single song, he would use the song title in some sort of attempt to jazz us up for it. For instance, before singing “Awesome God,” he said, “We have an Awesome God, don’t we?”
Before “Better is One Day,” he said, “Better is One Day in God’s courts, then a thousand days anywhere else!”
Before “Your Grace Is Enough,” he said, “His Grace Is Enough, am I right?”
I tried. I tried really hard to just worship in spite of all this, but I couldn’t. And the fact that this singer was so unaware of his problems just made it worse, because he would do them with so much vigor and passion, and I just wanted to stick a spoon in my ear.
What I am saying? I’m saying that having a servant heart is a wonderful thing, but when your talent or abilities don’t back up what you are volunteering for, someone should tell you.
If I volunteer to lead the A/V team and I can’t even turn on a computer, maybe that’s not the position for me. The church shouldn’t have to deal with my constant technical difficulties just so they don’t hurt my feelings.
Again, I’m sorry. I know this is my selfishness coming through, but really… am I alone in this?
It reaches a point where it becomes a hindrance for people to worship. Yes, the lead singer was worshiping with his whole heart, but most of us in the audience couldn’t, because we were too focused on trying to keep up with his constant mistakes, and it takes us out of the moment.
Churches – It is not wrong to make people audition for the band. It is not wrong to tell someone they aren’t a good fit. Truthfully, if I was a bad singer who wanted to lead worship, I’d rather someone tell me.
Matthew Coker is a Media Director at a church in his hometown, where he also is a leader at a Celebrate Recovery program. He’s a huge comic book nerd, Whovian, and Greendale Human Being. Matthew and his wife live in New Mexico.