By Scott Shepherd
Worship and music specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board
• “If God wanted me to sing, He would have given me a better voice.”
• “I can’t carry a tune in a bucket!”
• “The worship leader and choir sound so good! Why mess them up?”
• “I’m tone deaf!”
I’ll be the first to admit that some have more aesthetically pleasing voices than others. Worship leaders across America can “out sing” me any day!
But that doesn’t matter. Worship is not a competition. If worship services were “American Idol” or “The Voice,” most of us would have been voted off long ago. There isn’t an imaginary dividing line separating singers from non-singers in worship. Worshipers sing. Period.
Why? Because the option not to sing isn’t offered to us in Scripture. There are at least 50 commands in the Bible for us to sing, and singing is referenced hundreds of times. And there are never any stipulations. We won’t read, “Come, let us sing and shout,” as long as you have the most magnificent voice. Or, “sing to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs,” as long as the person to whom you’re singing isn’t a better vocalist than you. Or, “Sing a new song,” as long as you aren’t “tone deaf.”
Let’s be honest. Your tone-deaf voice singing praise to Jesus is infinitely more beautiful than your silence.
One of my favorite singers at my former church (we’ll call her Suzie) was not a “good” singer. She sang the right notes only occasionally, when — quite by accident — the melody intersected her own unique vocal path. And, yet, I loved to hear Suzie sing gustily to Jesus! Her singing encouraged others to sing — even if they weren’t “the best” either.
Be like Suzie. Sing — even if you’re “tone deaf.” B&R — Shepherd is music and worship specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.