Singing With Understanding

As a choir member, every Sunday I have the opportunity to lead people into worship. It is something that I consider a privilege and an honor. Sometimes, though, when I am up in the choir loft on a Sunday morning, or even singing in rehearsal, I find myself focusing on everything except what I’m singing about. I suspect this is also a struggle of many other choir members.

Sometimes, distractions get to us and we get caught up in technicalities. We think about finding the perfect harmony, or wonder “What am I doing with my hands?” or “Are people in the congregation looking at me?” It’s easy to get engrossed in things other than the reason we are in the choir in the first place: to worship Jesus.

Sing out with purpose

Worship is a fundamental part of every Christian’s life. It is essentially the reason we were created. The Father who loves us created us to worship and bring Him glory. The choir is there to help set an atmosphere of worship. However, if you are singing for any other reason than praising our God, then why be there? I had a professor in college that would always say, “Sing with understanding.” He was mostly talking about performing that particular aria or classical song, but it applies to church music as well.

If we go into worship blindly without paying any attention to what we are singing about or why we are singing it, what’s the point? Who is benefitting from that? We need to stop and remember the reason we sing. Not only are we called to lead in worship, but we must make sure we are worshiping and not thoughtlessly singing words and melodies.

Finding freedom in worship

Sometimes when I come into choir rehearsal or come to church on Sunday morning, I find myself distracted by many different things. I’m sure we’ve all been there. We had a bad day at work, there’s a situation going on at home, or stress is getting the best of you. It’s easy to let that frustration show on your face while you’re singing.

However, if you make a conscious effort to lay your burdens down at the feet of Jesus before you sing, you’ll find a satisfying freedom: freedom to worship, freedom to focus, and freedom from distractions. You can be free to truly lead in worship, because you are worshiping in your own heart. You’ll be free to lift your hands without any hindrance.

Perfection is not the goal 

Some people think that just because they are in the choir, they can’t get too caught up in worship. They think they need to focus on how the music sounds or they will miss something the choir director says. While those things are important, it should never be the main focus. If the director really needs to get your attention, he or she will, and while all choir directors want the music to be as close to perfect as it possibly can, every one of them would rather have a choir full of worshipers than a choir full of dull, distracted, musical perfectionists.

Next time you go into a choir rehearsal or get in the choir loft on a Sunday morning, take a second to remember the reason you are up there. It’s not to be seen. It’s not to be just another body to make the choir bigger. You are there to worship. When people see the sincerity of your worship, they will be drawn to it. Sing with understanding. Listen to the words that you are singing and let it mean something. Worship the God who created you, and sing your heart out because that’s what He deserves.

About the author:
garrenGarren McCloud is a Regional Sales Rep. at Brentwood Benson and a dedicated member of Christ Church Choir in Nashville. Previous to working at Brentwood Benson, Garren received a degree in Music Business from Lee University where he sang in Voices of Lee. Garren enjoys playing golf, cheering on the Atlanta Braves, and spending time with his wife, Sarah.

12 thoughts on “Singing With Understanding

  1. Well saId Garren. I can relate to what you are saying and will take it to heart! Sing in the Spirit and sing with understanding! Praise the Lord.

  2. We have a banner that only choir members can see while seated in the choir loft. It says. Sing with Joy to an audience of One. It’s a nice reminder who we are singing to.

  3. Thanks for this reminder! It’s so easy to get caught up in preparing music and having everything together for worship, but we forget to worship the one who’s given us the awesome privilege to lift our voices in His presence. Gotta share this!

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