It’s the pet peeve of many Pastors – a singer who talks too much in the flow of a worship service. I’ve heard, in adage form – “Beware of a Preacher who sings and a Singer who preaches.” I don’t think I’d go that far but I do think there are a few things music leaders should remember as we lead corporate worship.
Take what you say as seriously as what you sing.
You would never think about going “off the cuff” with a song you would sing. Imagine if every time a song popped in your head, you just started singing it. Why in the world would you lower that standard around what you say in worship?
The corporate worship experience is too important for us to always and only “Say what’s on our heart” with no forethought about how it fits into the worship experience. It is also dangerous.
Resist saying what the song is going to say.
Sometimes we get so excited about the song we are setting up, we will give a synopsis of its meaning as we introduce it. Two points here – (1) If the song needs that in order to communicate, then you need a better song. (2) Redundancy can interrupt the attention of the congregation in the worship service.
Imagine if right before a movie, someone walked out and said, “I want to clue you in on one or two of the best parts of the movie,” and then proceeded to describe those scenes. When you came to those parts of the movie, they would lose some of the impact that would have been felt if the movie had been simply presented without explanation. Why do think we should do that with songs?
Don’t Abdicate Your Responsibility.
Maybe you have that one soloist that always gives a 5-8 minute testimony before they sing. And usually they wind up just talking about the song or throwing in some personal story while their nerves settle down. It is still your role to make sure the corporate experience has the best opportunity to connect. Lovingly lead the people your serve by addressing this with your soloists.
Short is best and God’s Word is always right.
If you feel you need to give context to a particular song in the flow of a service, then do so with as few words as possible. There are a limited amount of words the congregation can digest in a worship service. Are you sure you want to burn up a bunch of them before the Pastor has preached? And remember, it is always right to share God’s Word when setting up a song. Leading the congregation to read the scripture together usually is the very best way to connect songs in a worship set.
You can a do a lot worse than saying nothing…
Don’t fall into the habit of thinking you have to say something every time you set up a song. The truth is, you don’t…and shouldn’t.
Time is always an important commodity in church life. Wasting it in worship will have a negative affect on the ministry of your Pastor and on you.
It is painful to observe a worship leader talk too much in a service. So, take inventory – How are you doing in managing the words that are spoken in the worship services you lead?
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.