Our Worship Leader Can’t Sing!!

Can't Sing

Hi, my name is Jason, I’m a worship pastor; and I can’t sing.

About 6 weeks ago, I came down with the flu, which turned into a chest cold with a horrible cough that has hung on for weeks. Subsequently, my throat has been put through the proverbial ringer. And that has left me without a singing voice. I can talk and carry on conversations. But when I try to sing, and especially when stand to lead worship through song, I have a very raspy, rough, off pitch voice that is nothing even close to what I am used to.

My voice, in particular my ability to sing is something that I have been known for, all be it in pretty small circles. I have led worship in churches for the past 24 years. I have sung with dynamic singing groups. I have performed with opera companies and musical theater. I have been singing solos in church from the time I was four years old. If you’re thinking to yourself, right now, “Wow, he’s kinda proud of his voice.”… you’d be correct. Truth be told, my voice is something in which I have held a very deep amount of pride – sadly an unhealthy amount of pride, or even more sad, an unspiritual amount of pride.

The first few weeks of this experience , I found myself leaving the stage of our sanctuary feeling frustrated after leading worship. I hated the way my voice sounded. I began to say things like, “God, how am I supposed to lead worship without a voice?” And He answered. The soft gentle voice of the Holy Spirit began impressing on my heart, “Jason, if you are leading worship from your heart as it was intended, your voice shouldn’t matter.” I’ll confess, that wasn’t the answer I was looking for.

In the weeks following, God began to take me through a process where I rediscovered what it meant to lead people in worship. For the first time in a long time, I was reminded that worship wasn’t about standing in front of a congregation and singing. It was about leading people to a place where they can have an encounter with the Savior. Worship wasn’t about me, or my voice. Like everything else, it was and is all about HIM!

Please understand, these weren’t new concepts to me. These were things that I had spoken aloud to my congregation, my students in our Student Ministry. Worship is all about Him. Why was it so hard for me, a worship leader, to put that into practice when it came to my voice? The answer, as I alluded to before – Pride. I came to a point where I needed to cry out to God and ask His forgiveness for holding on too tightly to and even abusing a precious gift He had given me. It has been a very humbling journey thus far.

So, how do you lead worship without a singing voice? God has led me to several answers to that question. A few of them have been, rediscovering the beauty of scripture, God’s spoken Word, and it’s place in a worship service. We have made more use of worship videos to re-engage our people during services. And when the times have come to sing, I have had to back off and sing lightly and rely on other’s voices. We have very gifted people who serve on our praise team each week. It has been their voices that have led out in the past few weeks. But I think my favorite times have been when I have just stopped singing all together in the middle of a song and enjoyed the incredible sound of the voices of God’s people singing out to Him collectively in worship.  Wow!

Hi, my name is Jason, I’m a worship pastor; and I can’t sing.

And that’s ok. 🙂

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