Playing and Singing with Excellence Part 2
Featuring John Telman Posted on February 26, 2009
Once we have a healthy worship ministry, it is important to maintain that health. In part one we looked at the connection we have to Christ and to each other. John 15 reminds us that when we remain in the vine, the virtue of his life flows in and through us resulting in fruitful lives.
We must always remember that what brings pleasure to the heart of God is that we become more like Jesus Christ. Songs are only powerful when they are a reflection of what we live out in our lives. So excellence, in our ministries, will begin with our personal lives and then flow into our relationships with the rest of God's children.
Growing up in a musical family, I had the joy of taking piano lessons and trumpet lessons. Every day I would spend hours in practice. Mom often would encourage me with the thoughts that some day it would pay off. Her encouraging words made a difference. I am grateful.
A level of proficiency will be a result of diligent practice. Some need to be encouraged that personal study is honoring to God. If he places a level of skill in your hand, he trusts you with that skill. He believes that you are able to carry out the task. The point is to focus on what God says and believes of you and me.
I have often witnessed, during rehearsals, musicians and singers who doubt their abilities. The wise and godly members will come alongside these and gently touch their lives with words of affirmation. We do well to see things like God does. His eyes look at more than just the “now”. A wrong chord or a “sour note” is not eternal. It will change and more than that, it is not as important as we might think. Lives mean much more to God. He has heard it all and is not impressed by anything other than faith in him.
When we love God, we will work on the continued development of our instrument or voice. We will also guard our hearts and minds from inflated views of ourselves. No matter how good we play or sing, and no matter what words our songs have, we must understand and live the smallness of ourselves and the bigness of God. This does not mean that we are to whip ourselves with false humility. As Louie Giglio says, “we are small”. The important thing to remember is to focus on God all through the process of practice, privately and corporately.
How we think will shape our actions. If God is who we think on and not things, we will be well on our way to excellence in playing and singing. He is the one to whom we bring our best. We do not offer second best. We give him our personal best, and that includes our consistent focus on him.