How To Lead A Christian Song

Current Song playing in the background:
Hillsong YnF – Only Wanna Sing

I’m probably going to wake my parents up in the next room from all the typing I’m about to do on my mechanical keyboard (sorry parents). BUT ERIKA IT IS 1:45AM. Well if I don’t type this now, I’ll either get lazy tomorrow and lose my thoughts (like all the old posts I was gonna write on but now don’t remember what they were).

***

You may possibly have wondered why I titled this How to Lead a “Christan Song”. Well tbh, who even really knows what “worship” songs are? The bible doesn’t explicitly explain that very well either. The word “worship” is used in so many context, I don’t actually think we’re asked to SING about every thing. Well you can if you want.

What’s the difference between Chance the Rapper’s “Christian Hip Hop” (yea read this blog post too if you like) and say Hillsong/Bethel/JesusCulture etc etc, what about Christian singers like 21 Pilots or Switchfoot against Chris Tomlin/Kari Jobe. Is it because one particular group/person produces songs in a church? There’s plenty of “Christian music” out there but I don’t see a lot of them being sung in churches/christian group settings.

In my opinion, yes I completely understand that some songs don’t suit a congregational setting – whether because there’s a random rap bit or the song is too melodious to teach. Whatever, there’s enough reasons. But there are reasons that I don’t think I can accept not leading a song for. One, I don’t like the song. Two, I can’t relate to the song. The reason is pretty simple, it’s selfish.

I’ve been really blessed to be given the ability to sing and opportunities to lead worship in small groups and in big conferences. Safe to say (and I’m sure lots of you have experienced), there are just some songs I do not like singing. Even worse when I’m told I need to look hyper and clap and dance around (not necessary imho, I also can’t clap in time). At the end of the day, we still sing what we have to sing even if the song has no impression on me. But what strikes me most whenever I’m out the front leading, is the sheer amount of people getting into the songs I’m just not keen on singing.

Guess we need to realise that we all have various taste in music, that’s probably also why there’s a ton of music genre out there. Not liking the song isn’t even a valid reason in the first place because we selfishly added our own opinion to what could’ve been a song with great meaning. If I were to say that every time I’m leading a song in my current church, I’ll probably just be left with a handful of songs.

So then, why do I lead those songs, and why should you lead these songs you dislike so much? My current church comprises of mainly older people (and I mean white haired old), and boy oh boy do they love their hymns. In the few months I’ve been there, I’ve been exposed to who knows how many old songs I’ve either never heard of ,or haven’t sung since I was a kid. But when I’m up there leading, it’s not to me that they’re singing to. Is it not great to see the congregation you’re leading singing wholehearted praises to God? Maybe the song is weird to me, but it ends up being my problem. So I think it is high time we remove “I don’t like the song” in our let’s not choose this song excuses list.

The second excuse we should remove from this list is the “I can’t relate to the song” excuse. As far as I’m concerned, all songs are relatable. Maybe not to you, but there’s bound to be someone out there who can. Go search up a song you don’t like on YouTube, and there’ll be someone in the comments section who is digging the song, even if the lyrics are completely dumb (to you anyway).

Hymns are great examples of being unrelatable? Why? It’s actually probably because you don’t like the song cos it’s boring *oh snap*. I know this because I’ve fallen into the trap of using that excuse for the real excuse. But if you take the time to read the lyrics you’re tempted to skip over, you might be very surprised at just how deep the lyrics are.

Did someone you know say John 3:16 is an important verse? Wow would you look at what these hymns you overlook say. Example…
Be Thou My Vision: “High King of Heaven, my victory won”.
Nothing But the Blood: pretty self explanatory here
The Old Rugged Cross: yeap
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus: “Through death into life everlasting, He passed, and we follow Him there”
There’s lots out there.

Is saying that the song is unrelatable really good enough? You know what song is “unrelatable” to me – Oceans by Hillsong United. Das right, I said it. The song is too pretty melodically to me, and I sometimes feel that’s the reason why some people choose to sing it. But for many out there, this song has carried them through troubled times – when they honestly feel like they’re drowning in life’s problems. I think I just woke my dad up with my typing.

Not choosing a song that isn’t relatable to you is like removing someone’s possible lifeline. As worship leaders, it may be hard not to insert your own opinions on song decision making but let’s all look beyond our own needs. We’re not here to sing songs that we like, or songs that have made us cry or songs that have reminded you of God in your tough times. If we do that, maybe your worship leader doesn’t find your relatable song relatable and they never sing it, and you disconnect from worship.

*WHY ARE ALL MY “RELATABLE”S UNDERLINED IN RED – IS IT NOT A WORD?*

Oh gosh I forgot what I was thinking.

Okay I think I remember *3mins later*

One other thing I find also important when saying if a song is relatable or not is – does it relate to you (the worship leader) on a spiritual level or emotionally? There’s lots of church songs now that emphasises on the emotion you get, or the situation you’re in but very little on the God behind it all. Let’s take for example, Oceans. Okay sorry I’m not purposely picking on the song, it is now 3am and I can’t think of another song right now. There are lots of Hillsong music I love and may not be theologically correct, but you can still listen to it, as long as you know the God in the bible and the God these songs are possibly singing about.

Also before I say more, can I just quickly say that this IS NOT bringing down another Christian or fighting between churches – I am simply telling you that you should base your faith on the bible more than on worship songs to help you make it through your life.

 You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior”

Great lyrics here. No doubt inspirations from when Peter climbed out of the boat to walk to where Jesus was on the water. (Matthew 14:22 onwards). But guys, let’s first be clear about what Matthew 14 is actually about – if you look up that chapter, you’ll see a paragraph titled “Jesus walks on water” not “Peter walks on water”. Gooiissee, Jesus is walking on water and they thought He was a ghost. Also erm, He didn’t call Peter out upon the water where everything is scary and Peter might drown and his feet may fail. Peter ASKED to be called there. Dang guys, if you really want to test your faith like that, you better know WHO you’re walking to. WHOSE sovereign hand to be your guide. And that a single sight of doubt isn’t present. No one else walked on water after that day. And seriously, God is ever so present to be your guide in all situations no matter where you are, you don’t need to be in a s-storm out in the dark oh gosh where’s the boat???

“When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace, For I am Yours and You are mine”. I truly hope your soul will eventually rest in God’s embrace but I think that’s a whole other topic I won’t delve into.

God is present but not present in the song. And okay maybe it’s not as bad as I say it to be. But to really drive my point in – is the song relatable because you see yourself in it or because God is in it. If all Christian music sings about God, then all Christian music MUST be relatable.

So let me tie back to what I was saying about my title. I think there’s a lot of christian music out there to listen or sing to. Whether they be from church bands or individual contemporary singers. The reasons behind the songs are important – and just as important are the actual lyrics of the songs. Some songs are just not theologically correct and should be avoided if possible. As worship leaders, yes there are a few “rules” out there when choosing music for your setting. Yes, choose songs that your congregation can learn easily. Yes, choose songs that coincide with the sermon/message. Yes, choose church friendly songs and also crowd friendly (like I don’t think I’ll ever sing “Running” by Hillsong” in my church). But nothing is stopping you from singing other Christian music like Lecrae’s music in the car when you’re alone or with a friend.

Btw, read this article about true worship. Also it’s one thing I learn about worship leading – our role as worship leader is not for us (the leader) to get into worship, but in bringing the congregation into an environment where they can be reminded of the reason why they sing – when that happens, that is your act of worship to God.

Uhm yea it’s getting late, and I think I’ve gone off topic at one point but yea. This might be my longest post to date, but I guess worship is that important to me.

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

John 4:23-24

Erika.

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