I’m pretty sure that is a fair assessment of my singing voice, worst ever. It really may be that bad. I don’t know what “parts” are or harmony or melody. I don’t know anything, really and I can’t keep beat. Don’t ask me to clap and sing - it is one or the other! I don’t know who I am supposed to sound like or what a tone is. And if the words aren’t in front of me, even if I have heard the song 1,000 times, I won’t remember the words.
I am aware of how bad it is.
For the longest time I wouldn’t sing. I didn’t sing growing up, except for youth choir but that was only to be with friends, go on trips and, you know - cute girls. Even when I was older I would mouth the words during congregational singing but not make a sound. I was embarrassed. Prideful really, not wanting the people around me to know how bad of a singer I really was.
Then I attended a men’s event. There were thousands of men gathered in one place. Just men. And when the music started, the men around me began to sing. There were some really rough voices around me. As the number of men singing increased something happened, all of those voices came together as one loud and beautiful praise. I didn’t hear the rough voices any longer - just unbelievable beauty.
This must be what heaven is like, I thought, all of the voices singing together about the greatness of God. I was overcome with emotion. Then I joined them in singing!
I wasn’t worried about what my singular voice sounded like and it felt amazing. It was in that moment, worship as pure as it could be.
That experience changed me. When I joined our church the next Sunday, I didn’t just mouth the words in silence. I sang! And I sang loudly. And it was good - my voice was still bad, but singing felt amazing. There was something amazing about letting go of the pride that kept me silent during singing.
Here are few things that I have come to realize since that men’s event:
Singing is really good for me.
I felt then a relief, like a burden was lifted, a weight was gone. I felt free as I offered genuine worship to our great God and Savior. It hasn’t changed, I do even now when I sing. Singing freely seems to be a means of grace to me. There is something spiritual that happens when I sing - I not only participate in the singing, I participate in the confession, the pleading, the receiving of grace.
Singing is really good for other believers.
The singing at the men’s event was, I am sure really good for those men, but their singing was really good for me as well. God used their joyful, loud voices to call me to let go of my pride and join them in praise. It changed me. When we sing like that as a congregation we are encouraging those around us not only to participate in singing, but to join us in repentance, to join us in finding hope in Jesus, to join us in his beautiful light even when our circumstances are dark. Our singing, even bad singing, serves to remind the people around us that there is someone who deserves our praise! It reminds them that He is our hope and our joy. Your singing is good for the whole congregation.
Singing is really good for those who don’t know Jesus.
Your singing is missional. Every week we have people in our congregation who are not yet believers. Your singing is a demonstration of the worth and value of the one you sing about! When you sing with joyful abandon about the greatness of your savior it is a demonstration of the joy He brings to you. It is a tangible expression of your love and worship. It points the unbeliever to Him and the to the truths that you sing.
I still have the worst voice ever. But what a joy it is to sing! I want to share that joy with you. I want you to share that joy with others as you too sing with abandon this Sunday. I want our voices to be a sacrifice well received by our Father. And I want us, together, to loudly proclaim that God is worthy of our song.
New City, let’s fill this old building with song like never before! And if you are worried about how you might sound, sit with me, down front. We’ll sing together.