Do you have a pastor who won’t sing during the worship services of your church? Does it drive you crazy? Read on.
Recently, my pastor gave me the opportunity to preach at our church. That assignment included preaching for three services – 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00. I was so blessed by the confidence he placed in me to stand in that sacred place.
Our Music Associate, Brad Cleveland, and my friend and co-worker, Craig Adams, led the music that day. The songs they selected were some of my very favorites. I loved how they led and my heart was full as the church expressed praise to our Savior.
During the songs, I found myself thinking about the people that were there and the message God had placed on my heart. I found myself lost in the wonder of the opportunity that was before me. And, surprisingly enough, I found myself…
And, as the morning went on, I sang less and less. By the third service, the message of the sermon had completely overrun my spirit. I could hear the songs – and would even enter in for a phrase or two – but the swirl of thoughts in my head around what I had said and was about to say kept me so occupied that I didn’t sing more than a word or two at a time.
This experience made me realize – we need to cut our pastors some slack if they don’t sing every word with us as we lead. We say to ourselves, “I listen to his sermons. The very least he could do is sing along with the songs and act interested.” I’m afraid I’ve had those very thoughts before.
But this recent experience helped me to see the preaching event is so significant – the burden so real and heavy – sometimes our pastors have too much going on in their spirits to actively engage in the singing – especially if they are preaching multiple times in a morning.
It doesn’t mean they aren’t giving their worship to God. It doesn’t mean they don’t like the songs or that they don’t respect what you are doing. It very well could be they are being fed by what is happening, and at the same time, preparing to pour their souls out by listening to the praise of God’s people.
Help your worship leaders understand this about your pastor. And the next time you look over to his seat during a song and he seems to be un-engaged, realize more than you know is going on inside his soul and his silence might only be the final stages of preparation before he stands to deliver God’s Word to the flock.
And, if he is faithfully doing that week after week, then he deserves the benefit of the doubt if he isn’t singing every word of every song with you. Thank God for this shepherd who is faithfully leading the flock at your church. And pray the ministry you share with him in worship will both lift up the Word and prompt the response of praise from God’s people.
So your pastor doesn’t always sing with the congregation? Get over it! And pray that God will fill his heart… so that when he preaches God’s Word, he will be focused and ready to share the life-changing truth of the Gospel with the same fervor you had when you were doing the same thing through music.
Mike Harland is the Director of LifeWay Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book. In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family. Mike can be found on Twitter @MikeHarlandLW and on facebook.com/Mike.Harland.37.