Stop singing in Church…No make a joyful noise

20150612_131958So I cant sing.  I am actually maybe the worst singer ever.  This past Sunday my wife commented to me that I should try not to sing out because I could scare the people around me. (this was in jest)  Once when I was in college at chapel I sat between two choir members and they both asked if I could stop singing for one of the verses because I was so off key it was throwing them off.  I am bad and I know it. On occasion at Church I leave my mic on and others know it, but I still sing.  This blog post has nothing to do with others joking comments. I don’t think anyone of them was seriously asking me to not sing just having some playful banter.

I think everyone should sing in Church.  I think everyone should be an active participant in the worship service.  I sit in the front row of Church and often sit where I can see most of the men and women in my Church skipping the singing part.  This by the way has nothing to do with contemporary or traditional worship services.  Sure sometime the key for the song is unsingable or the hymn uses words no one understands or can sing.  We may have many reasons people don’t sing but if you are not doing it because you are an awful singer please listen up.

The saddest reason I think people don’t sing is because they think they sound terrible.  They are afraid to sing out because they don’t want to be embarrassed.  Well let me tell you something I know as a youth guy.  Your kids are watching.  Your boys sitting in the pew are watching you mom and dad.  They are watching you and thinking Dad thinks this Church thing is dumb, so we think it is dumb.  Mom doesn’t sing so we can check out of this Church thing. Please, please, please sing.  Mom, dad, grandpa, and grandma please sing.  It is better for you to be involved worship, but most important it shows those young people around you that you care about this Jesus.  I know you know and love Jesus. I really want you to show that to others by being involved.  Sing loud and praise the Lord.

In college my favorite line a friend Rev. Dave Herald  and I used to say.  “If you have a good voice sing loud and praise God…If you have a horrible voice sing loud and get back at him!”  Enjoy God’s gift of song, sing to the lord and receive his blessings through the worship services.  Help lead by example to our young people that this Jesus who came and died for us is worth giving praise in response to his good gifts.

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Psalm 95:1 ESV

Its not about you…why I dont do worship time in Youth group. The Body of Christ needs more!

11133942_465215150311741_663531651424318360_oI am a full time Youth Minister.  I serve a Church in Big Rapids Michigan and  I a believe one of the most important things I can teach my young people whom I serve is Church isn’t all about them.  Church is about the body of Christ coming together.  It is about being one body not just a youth church.  We get in trouble in ministry and a church when we say one group is more important than the other or I only care about one part of the body  who are like me.

I don’t do worship in youth group on purpose. For those who know me, they know I can’t sing.  In fact Sunday I left my mic on for the whole last hymn.  Needless to say their was some crying at the end of the service. I don’t do worship in youth group for a whole different reason. I do not believe youth groups should do worship regularly for Youth group time.  The reason is I don’t want our students thinking that YG is the same as being a part of the whole body of Christ.  I want are students in worship because it is where we see the whole body of Christ gather and share its need for forgiveness in confession and absolution, in the breaking of bread, and fellowship.

Many of my students and even their parents can forget this fact about the body.  We seem to think all to often that Church is about me and my group of peers. I have had parents and students say “They aren’t going to Church but they are going to be at Youth group which I the same thing.” I cry a little when that happens.  Being a part of the body of Christ is all about being with the whole body.  The body needs those who are 95 and crusty, it needs the 5 year old with snot running down his nose, it needs the teenager who is uncomfortable with her body, the single mom, the dad who is struggling with self worth, It needs all of it because it is all the body trying to come together to follow the head who is Jesus. It is these moments when we learn to walk together through our mess and see Jesus clean it up.

The whole body in needed to function properly is doesn’t mean we don’t have groups who meet together who are alike, it just means that shouldn’t be the end goal. Our end goal should be the whole body gathered together. So how are you intentionally gathering together with those in your Church who are not like you? How are you helping grow the whole body of Christ?

 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—  one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Ephesians 4:4-7 ESV