Church musicians today are probably some of the most talented people coming forward that there has been within the church in the past several decades. For such a long time, there was a strong level of mediocrity in the church music scene, but over the last several years, that bar has been raised substantially. It is extremely encouraging to see people worshipping with such excellence. However, I feel like there is a problem that comes along with this new found pursuit of great musicianship.
As our male singers get better, it seems that the keys we are singing in are getting higher and higher. For me, I have always loved that. I love challenging myself with a higher song, stretching myself musically, and having to sing a little more passionately due to the higher register. But lately, I have started to notice a trend. Men aren't singing as much.
It bears repeating. Men aren't singing as much. As the songs get higher and higher for us trained musicians, men who don't claim to be singers clam up. Rather than try to sing something down an octave, they don't sing. Most regular guys have no clue how to sing a lower harmony on the spot these days. So, while we are on stage doing vocal acrobatics, they are in the congregation with their hands in their pockets and their mouths closed.
This trend is troubling to me on many levels. Firstly, men are passionate people, yet they don't express that to God. We've all heard the "if you do it at a sports event, you should do it at church" scenario. But honestly, "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" has never been too high for any guy to sing along with. You put men in a room where other people might hear their voice crack and squeal and then wonder why they aren't singing. It's embarrassing! Secondly, it bothers me because many families take their worship cues from the father. We have a man not singing. Now we have a wife and kids not singing. Pretty soon we have a church that is not singing. Men in the bible were some of the most passionate singers there were. David always sang passionately before the Lord. Peter and Paul would sing in prison with no concern of the other prisoners around them. Singing used to be a huge part of our society and culture, but in an age of headphones and iPhones, no one is gathering around the piano at home with the family to have singalongs anymore.
We as men need to rediscover our voices. And we as worship leaders need to stop showing off how great our range is, and focus on leading people to sing in worship (I'm definitely indicting myself here). Let's not lose our men. We need them to lead their families. And men, we need you to step up and make a joyful noise unto the Lord, even if it is a little out of your range.