“And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ.”
Colossians 3:23 (The Message)
I read something this morning that resonated with me and succinctly explains my philosophy and motivation behind my sometimes seemingly exsessive rehearsal of our church’s praise team music each week. It was written by Mark Hall, the lead singer of Casting Crowns in his book, Lifestories: Finding God’s Voice of Truth Through Everyday Life:
“After all these years, I understand how imperative it is to be so prepared before I reach the stage that I no longer think about the songs – or the execution of the songs – while onstage. I’ve stopped worrying about how I’m going to sound. That’s for rehearsal. I get everything in order then. When it comes time for worship, I merely sing to Jesus and hope others come along.
I’ve been onstage when my mind was not focused upon leading people to Jesus. I was distracted with how the music sounded or whether I sang well or whether the words were timed properly on the screens or whether the lighting cues were correct. At that point, I was just singing songs. The songs didn’t do anything more than just bounce off of the ceiling, and my voice was merely feedback in the speakers. It was empty.
Worship happens … only when my heart is where it’s supposed to be and I’m loving on Jesus. Whether we’re singing aloud, singing silently, reading the words and listening to everybody else – or sitting with our hands folded and an intense look on our faces – the point of it all is Jesus . . . and Jesus alone.” (emphasis mine)
That’s why I want to know the music – and I mean REALLY KNOW the music – by the time I get to the stage on Sunday mornings. Because I don’t want to even think about it when I’m up there. I don’t want the distractions of logistics to take away from praise. I don’t want to focus on myself, lest someone else also focus on me instead of Jesus.
That’s why I rehearse 10 to 20 hours per week.
That’s why I did a much needed time commitment inventory and gave up some things I like to do. So I could really focus on doing something I LOVE to do. The time I needed for preparation didn’t exist in my schedule before. I had to find it. I had to MAKE it.
That’s why I have trouble switching between harmony and melody on short notice. I spend so many hours working out and memorizing my “assigned” part for the week, that last Sunday, when I was supposed to fill in on melody at the last minute for someone who was sick, harmony came out of my mouth instead and I had to motion for someone else to take the lead.
That’s one of the reasons my daughter knows every word to every praise song we sing. She hears the music SOOOOO much, she can’t help but know it by heart.
That’s even one of the reasons I gave up my bi-weekly mani-pedi. Voice lessons cost money. And time.
My goal is that all of this be invisible on Sunday mornings. That I would be invisible on Sunday mornings. I want the members of the congregation to walk around for the rest of the day, and maybe for the rest of the week, with a praise song stuck in their head, not MY voice, but their own – praising God, not the praise team.
“The point of it all is Jesus . . . and Jesus alone.”