A Tale of Two Singing Groups

A couple of weeks ago we had a group that was on tour that sang at our church. For the first time there are not enough words in my vocabulary to describe how incredible they were. The blending of harmony, the songs they chose to sing. There was not a person in the worship center that was not touched. To be honest my taste in music runs a little more contemporary but this was at such a high level of professionalism that you could not help but be impressed. Remember I have been in the ministry for almost 30 years so I have seen my share of groups. This was by far the best I have ever seen. I walked away from that experience thinking to how really incredible music will transcend styles of music and even ages of the people. I could truly listen to these people all day. Admittedly I have a low tolerance for music that is halfway done. I have had to listen to it my whole life.

This past Sunday night was completely different. The crowd was small, different room in the church. The group was completely different. Our senior adult choir joined in with a group of Special Needs adults from a local mission. To see these individuals worship was an experience I will never forget. They sang a song we all knew from our childhood, “Jesus Loves Me”. There was no blending of voices, no harmony, no fancy movements. Just people singing straight from their heart. Yes, my snobby music heart melted. I found myself remembering a quote from C. S. Lewis:


“I disliked very much their hymns, which I considered to be fifth-rate poems set to sixth-rate music. But as I went on I saw the great merit of it. I came up against different people of quite different outlooks and different education, and then gradually my conceit just began peeling off. I realized that the hymns (which were just sixth-rate music) were, nevertheless, being sung with devotion and benefit by an old saint in elastic-side boots in the opposite pew, and then you realize that you aren’t fit to clean those boots. It gets you out of your solitary conceit.”

imagesI truly got a chance to worship. It was one of those services where God touched your heart and you will not forget it. We all have preferences when it comes to music, and I do not know how the Minister of Worship survives in most churches. However, we must never forget that worship is not for us. I often hear people comment how they did not get anything out of the service. It was not for you to get anything out of; it was for you to give something to. Our purpose in worship is to give God glory.

I still believe in excellence. God wants our very best. However, we cannot forget the heart. The problem was not that one group was more spiritual than the other. Trust me, they were both worshipful. The problem was my heart. The moment it is about me, my preferences, my disdain for weak music, is the moment I have lost the focus of what I am supposed to be doing. True worship know no boundaries. I am grateful that God still teaches and speaks to me.


About Mark LaGrone

Discipleship and Assimilation Pastor at Collierville First Baptist Church outside of Memphis, TN.
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