I share a real-life experience about good singing gone bad and reveal 3 jaw-dropping lessons I learnt.
I've been holding on to this one for a little while now. Waiting for an opportunity to sit down and write it up. I'm sitting in school, waiting for students to turn up (it's assessment week, so it's hit and miss). I got about 20mins!
Anyways, my mind has skipped back to a visit I took to a church last year in the Summer. I'd been visiting, around my own church commitments, for about a year. Their worship is very modern and expressive compared to my church. Joining them, now and again, meant I could get a good balance of worship plus keep up with the latest worship songs.
I always sit in the bleachers. This particular Sunday, I sat in front of a young lady who was sitting next to a young boy. During worship, she proceeded to sing every. single. song. at the top of her voice. Every song. The boy next to her never flinched.
I remember chuckling to myself. "I used to do that!", I thought. (Back in the day, I used to show off my singing by singing louder than everyone else. My attitude at the time was: I don't care. I'm worshipping. You better get with me or get out! Of course, I've grown up a lot since the 90's)
But, as I recalled my immature behaviour of old, it dawned on me that I was distracted and no longer worshipping! I was now listening to her sing, loudly, behind me and if I was listening who else had to listen? The Penny Drops!
This young lady could sing. She had a good voice. But she was singing loud, above everyone else. Even if it was a slow song where it required a quiet moment of internal reflection, she sang loud! About 2 times I wanted to tell her to take it down. I resisted.
But by now, I'm not concentrating my thoughts on worship.
Yes, I could of moved. But I would of heard her wherever I sat. (Yep, that's how loud she was.)
I learnt a few things that day. It was humbling and enlightening. I learnt that:
Hold on! Am i saying that singing or worshipping loud is wrong? No way. In fact, scripture encourages it. Psalms 71:23 say: "My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you— I whom you have delivered." There is nothing wrong with worshipping and singing loud in the congregation.
But do I believe there's a fine line between worshipping loud and showing off? Yes, I do.
1 Corinthians 14:26 points us towards orderly worship and says that when we meet together let everything be done to strengthen (build up) everyone. Singing together is meant to edify everyone in the room! Another scripture reveals when we sing as one voice, with one mind and heart, God shows up (2 Chron 5v13)
But I like how Romans 15: 1-7 sums it up. To paraphrase, it says: "We who are strong.... ought not to just please ourselves but to build up our neighbours. May God, who gives patience and encouragement, give us the same attitude and mind towards one another, so that with one mind and voice you may glorify Him."
There is something powerful about singing together as one. So, when we have a lone voice singing over-the-top loud just for the sake of doing so, it can be a distraction to others.
Be honest. If you have found yourself singing loud and over the top for no other reason than to be heard or to show off your skills, remember you may be distracting others. When they should be focusing on God, they've disconnected.
When joining others in worship, consider how your singing may be affecting others around you. Pull back if all you can hear is your own voice. Reset and refocus!
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Dionne is a professional Vocal Coach and Worship Leader and has been tutoring
Voice In Ministry - Lift Your Voice!