“Music. A meaningless acceleration in the rhythm of celestial experience.”
C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
As a music lover, a singer and a worshiper in the church, I find myself more and more learning and understanding the art of worship, because it really is an art. Worship cannot be approached devoid of passion and yet, so often, that’s exactly what happens. I watch as worshipers, both on stage and in the congregation, stand unmoved, unimpressed, sometimes even annoyed, throughout the entire worship portion of a church service and I want to grab them by the hand and squeeze tight while whispering in their ears, “This is the God of the Universe to whom we sing. Rejoice and be glad!”
I don’t do that, of course, because that would be weird and slightly intrusive…
There are some obvious reasons to me why this happens to worshipers and they are reasons that I understand. Some of them are valid and some just need to be worked through a bit. (And to make things perfectly clear, the specific worship I am discussing here today is the actual worship portion of a church service. Not the every day worship of living out faith.)
The first reason why I think many struggle to worship passionately is a perceived lack of talent. I see it in their eyes, sometimes even in the ones standing in front of the microphone. There is a fleeting (or not so fleeting) look of fear, of doubt, maybe even embarrassment as they begin to sing. I can almost see the thought bubble float above their heads.
I’m not good enough.
There is some truth to the idea that a person leading worship should, indeed, be able to carry a tune and carry it well. Beautiful harmonies accelerate the rhythm of celestial experience and there’s no way to get around that. But most churches have some process of vetting singers, so if you’ve been placed before a microphone by the person in charge, chances are you have been given that responsibility with some measure of confidence so my advice to you is this: embrace it.
If you are actual leader of worship, lead boldly and passionately. Don’t look out at the congregation with wide, scared eyes like your grandma shoved you on stage and ordered you to sing. Sing because you can and smile because you enjoy it.