What do you say to a choir member who can’t sing? Church isn’t the TV show “American Idol.” In church, you don’t have people like Simon telling soloists that they can’t sing. So what do you do when Sister Bertha belches off-key or Brother Bob botches the choir special?
I heard a story that puts this matter into perspective. There was a man who couldn’t sing a lick, but he felt “called” to the choir. Several people gently suggested he might be better suited for some other area of ministry, but he ignored them and kept right on singing off key.
The minister of music became very upset and told the pastor that he was going to resign if this man didn’t leave the choir. So the pastor reluctantly approached the man about the matter. The man asked, “Why should I leave the choir?” The pastor, frustrated at this point, bluntly replied, “Because a half-dozen people told me you can’t sing.” The off-key singer snorted, “So! I know 50 people who told me you can’t preach!”
Ouch! Maybe the man had a point. As Rick Warren says, worship music is not about the art, it’s about the heart. Sure, we want the piano tuned, and it’s nice to hear the rhythm right and the choir on key, but all of that makes no difference if the soloist is on drugs or the organist is just doing it for pay and doesn’t really believe Jesus is God in flesh. The same goes for the pastor: I would rather hear a sermon on marriage from a monotone preacher who is faithful to his wife, than from a flashy guy who can hold my attention but is secretly holding another man’s wife at night.
When somebody stands to sing in church whose life has been changed by the grace of God, I don’t care if they sound more like William Hung than Carrie Underwood. Neither does God. After all, Psalm 98:4 says, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.” It says the noise should be joyful; it doesn’t say the noise has to be on perfect pitch.
Copyright 2008 by Bob Rogers.