“I don’t believe you.”
That’s the one statement no worship leader wants to hear. A lack of sincerity from the person holding the microphone negates any amount of rehearsal and every cool outfit. So how then can we become more believable when we stand up and sing? Here are three questions I ask about every song we add to our set…
What’s the song about?
I encourage all of our singers to treat the song lyrics as poetry. Dig around and find out what the song is about and why it matters that we should even be singing it. Take the song line by line, phrase by phrase. Memorize it (heresy, I know). Once you understand what the song is saying, you’ll be able to communicate its message far more confidently.
What’s the purpose of the song?
Is this the opening song? Does it set up communion? Is it a performance piece? Is it a transition song? Knowing the purpose of the song you’ll sing will help you better deliver that song in light of what’s happening during that point in the service. For example, it can feel disingenuous to pour your heart out in a song that’s sole purpose is to welcome people to the service. You also don’t want to show off your vocal chops in a moment that calls for reflection and prayer. Think through each moment - get a feel for why you’re singing that song in that spot in the service.
What does the song mean to you?
This is the kicker. If you don’t believe it, your audience won’t believe it. Can you really sing about healing if you’re not sold on God’s ability (and desire) to heal? Can you deliver a message about being in a deep dark place if you’ve never been there yourself? Consider the lyrics of the song and ask yourself if you can really put your heart into it. It’s better to not sing the song than to sing it half-heartedly.
Here’s a bonus thought - does the song match your personality? Is it too big for you? Too young for you? Ouch. Does the song require you to “dance” or “scream it out” when you’re not normally inclined to do so? These are important questions to ask so that you can sing with the greatest amount of sincerity and passion.
I’d like to know what song you’re connecting with lately and what song you’ve had to lay aside.