When I’m up on stage, there are a few things that I wish I could just stop and say … but have never had the guts to:
10 – I’m probably going to forget the words at times … To “cover it up”, I’ll sometimes just make random vowel sounds until I realize what I’m supposed to be singing again.
9 – We’re probably not going to sound like those guys that you were listening to in your car on the way to church … You’ll have to wait till that band tours through town to hear them. But even then, you’re listening to a produced album (even if the album is “live”), we’re giving you the “non-overdubbed, not singing to tracks” version of these songs.
8 – When I back away from the microphone, sometimes its because I’m leaving a space for everyone to sing together … Other times its because I have to burp and I don’t want to rip it into the microphone.
7 – I know it’s the weekend and I know it’s morning, but chances are, I was up earlier than you today, so let’s all try to wake up a bit. I think we should all agree right now that what we’re doing is more important than the coffee you’re holding.
6 – There’s more to what we’re singing than just a list of songs. Have you ever realized that the songs we sing are actually thematically building on one another? That maybe there’s a reason why we had everyone shouting out “How Great Thou Art!” only AFTER we sang about God as the creator of the universe? When you tune out for a minute during the musical worship set, you might miss out on a truth about God that we’re going to be responding to in a couple minutes.
5 – I’m not here to perform for you. I’m here to sing WITH you. We don’t need the show to worship our God together in this way! (If you’ve missed the conversations over production levels during weekend services, you can check it out here)
4 – I’m not intentionally doing “those things” so that I can receive “those e-mails” on Sunday afternoon (If you’ve been in ministry long enough, you know what I mean). We’re likely trying to accomplish the same goal. We might just be taking a different approach towards that destination. We’re on the same team.
3 – Even though we can’t make you show up on time, musical worship is not viewed as optional around here. For those who prefer the teaching over the music, hopefully you realize that there is the huge potential for teaching moments within the music set and the songs we’re singing. You may not feel comfortable joining in this way that may seem weird by our culture’s standards, but really, we’re declaring with our voices, out loud, that we are not God, He is Great, and we submit to His leadership today and forever. Of COURSE it’s uncomfortable …
2 – When you’re walking in late, talking with others, or even just reading your program, you’re distracting more people than just yourself. Those who are trying to engage might be pulled out of the moment by hearing your conversation or seeing you walk across the front of the room.
1 – It’s not my job to prepare your heart. I’ve heard and have even agreed in the past with the statement that Sunday mornings are a glass of fresh water to take in to refresh you and energize you for a week. Then we come back again the next Sunday to be filled up to be sent out again. I don’t necessarily agree with this statement anymore. Instead, I would be in the camp that says our hearts should be so full of joy and excitement for what God did in, through and around us all throughout the week that our Sunday mornings are a community celebration of joy over the goodness of God! If you haven’t thought twice about what God is up to in your own life before walking in on Sunday morning, than chances are, you might not “feel” it by the end of the 15-20 minutes that I’ve got with you.
Now, I realize I’m preaching to the choir. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re involved in music ministry in some shape or form. The number of people that will read this that are never involved might be quite small. So, understanding that, let me ask you something …
Have I done everything I can to be able to expect these things of everyone else with a clear conscience?
Have I practiced enough to keep the number of times I forget the words to a minimum?
Are we striving for excellence within our sound or have we given into the “that’ll do” mentality?
Are we leaving the space for people to hear one another sing?
Am I awake within 10 minutes of walking in for sound check? Did I have my coffee in enough time to wake up?
Are my set lists intentional? Am I telling a story throughout it? Or are they just a few songs jammed together?
Are we humbling ourselves to the point of being able to lead well on a stage? It’s not easy.
Am I following up with criticism and critique with grace and love?
Are we stepping out of our comfort zones to lead with a whole-hearted expression of praise?
What might I be doing that could be a distraction to those wanting to engage fully?
Am I showing up spiritually prepared? How am I responding to God’s work this week?
It’s not until we can answer THESE questions fully that we can begin to make these assumptions of others.