You may or may not have heard, but I’m getting my tonsils and adenoids taken out next week. I was reminded why on Sunday. As I woke up, my throat was so dry and painful that I could barely sing by the time I got to church.
The good thing was I didn’t have to sing that much.
As worship pastor at North Side, I really never sing “lead” on every song we do. I’m only the lead on a few songs of our worship CDs. Visiting ministers have asked me why, that as the worship pastor, am I not leading all, or even most, of the songs and everyone else singing backup?
- I have the least quality voice on our team – This is not false humility, this is fact. I have no problem admitting my voice is steady and functional but not the greatest thing you have ever heard.
- Everyone on the team has a better quality voice than me – No, I’m not repeating myself, and no this is not self-depreciation, this is self-realization; I am surrounded by unbelievable singers that could sing circles around me or anyone for that matter.
- It provides variety – No matter how good the singer is, if that’s all people listen to every Sunday, it loses effectiveness.
- Women sing out more than men – In most churches, more women are present than men. In most congregations, women sing out more than men (this is not ideal, but unfortunately a fact). When a male worship leader only sings in keys that fits his voice well, most ladies won’t sing out cause they would be in the rafters or the gutters. In most churches, ladies only sing special music but rarely lead the worship songs – big mistake! Try it and watch what happens.
- Keeps the focus on Jesus – When you pass the microphone for the lead vocal whose intention is not to wow others but to lead others into worship, no one walks away thinking about that one voice that stole the show. They are thinking about Jesus who always steals the show!
When I lead worship, I lead every song, but I don’t sing lead on every song. I am intentional about every key and every person singing and what part they are singing. Why? Because I want people walking away worshiping Jesus and not commenting on their likes or dislikes of different singers.
Worship leaders, put down the pride we struggle with, and pass the microphone. You may be amazed at what could happen.
During the next week or two, when my teams lead worship without my voice, I doubt anyone will even notice. And for that I am truly grateful.