Pastors who preach are probably not the most likely candidates for leading worship music. Some have wonderful singing voices but most have no training in leading worship music. But every now and again, we who preach are giving the privilege to aid in leading people to sing to the Lord.
On the most recent Sunday night, my church came together for a Night of Worship. We sang mostly older hymns; some arranged to contemporary styles. It was a time of great joy, a few tears, and the sweet community of the saints who love our Savior. In joking with our worship pastor Aaron Loy about when “my solo” would be in the service, he suggested that I join the small group of worship leaders on the platform.
I jumped at the opportunity.
After all, I sang bass and baritone for two years on a music scholarship for a community college. In other words, I have just enough training to sound like an amplified bullfrog. But, as I’ve had opportunity over the years to participate in ensembles and the like, I always seize the moment. One, because I love to sing. Two, because I love to watch the church sing.
Pastors, let me encourage you to join me in finding ways to join your worship leader on platform from time to time. Here’s why.
1. Be an example. Get on the platform during worship so that the people of God can see their preacher passionately singing. It does not require any movement or physical ovation that makes you uncomfortable. Nor do you even need to sing into a microphone. Your presence before the church family sets an example. It is encouraging for them to see you in worship with them. You are a leader… so lead.
2. Understand your church better. Watching our church worship helps me to know our people. I can see who is hesitant and who is in need. I am able to better understand if we are connecting people to truth or just going through the motions. Witnessing our people in worship gives me spiritual insight about who we are.
3. It can give context to pain. As a pastor, you know whose marriages are in trouble, what jobs are in danger of being lost, and who is going through a medical crisis. Watching those people worship may just give you a sense of where they are spiritually in the midst of the storm.
4. You will be challenged. Our church is a smattering of people who stand with hands raised along with those who like to sit still. For me, I raise my hands and get teary-eyed. Often. Sunday night I had fought through the tears quite a bit as we worshiped and I watched how joyful our people felt before the Lord. And then I saw Mr. Goard. He and his wife are some of the founding members for our church. They sit on the back row each Sunday and are ever-so kind to me. As we sang one of those sweet, old hymns, I saw Mr. Goard stand up. (I’m starting to cry now just thinking about it.) He gently lifted a wrinkled hand and sang with all his might. Physically, that’s not much. Spiritually, it was a comfort and challenge to my soul. I know who he is: a man who diligently prays for our pastors, our church, and for souls to be won to Christ. Watching my friends like Mr. Goard worship with such a love for Christ holds me accountable. I cannot mimic lyrics or dramatize our response. These are my friends. This is my family. They are a people worthy of having a pastor who loves the Lord with all of his heart, soul, mind, and strength.
This blog originally appeared on Philip Nation’s website, PhilipNation.net, on Nov. 17, 2015.
Philip serves as the Director of Content Development at LifeWay Christian Resources and frequently speak at churches and conferences. A graduate of Beeson Divinity School (MDiv) and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (DMin), Philip has served as a pastor, minister of education, and a church planter. He also serves as the Teaching Pastor of The Fellowship, a multi-site church in the Nashville area.