Sing to the Lord: Reflecting on Worship

by Allison Haskell

“Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.”
Psalm 96:1-4

If you’ve ever had a conversation with me, you know that I sing more often than I speak. Not really, but I do sing wayyy too frequently. I was singing before I could talk. Literally - ask my mom. So this command, “Sing to the Lord,” is something that comes very naturally for me. Not only is singing mentioned over 400 times in the Bible, it is a direct COMMAND 50 times, and that’s not even to mention all of the times we are called to play, shout, and dance! I love to sing and have always connected to God best in this way. However, I am learning that, in leading people in worship, not everyone is like me, and it doesn’t come this easily for everyone!

There’s a Desiring God article that says, “The power of your participation in congregational singing is not in the quality of your tone but in your voice’s testimony to God’s faithfulness. Your participation in singing signifies to all those around you that you love Jesus and trust his gospel (Nick Aufenkamp).” I love that. Participating in worship is not about how your voice sounds, but it is All. About. Jesus. There is so much power in congregational worship; it is glorifying to the Lord and also edifying to the church! Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Look at that! Teaching and admonishing is in the same sentence as singing psalms and hymns! Singing in worship is not just about you and your feelings toward God. Singing, if you allow it, can be crucial in teaching and admonishing those around you with the truths of the Gospel and sharing your faith and hope in Jesus through worship. 

How cool is it that we can teach each other more about God just by singing to Him in worship?! I think that’s ridiculously cool. That’s something I’ve been learning a lot about, and hope that maybe you, dear reader, will take away from this too. Singing in worship has nothing to do with you and how you sound and everything to do with the glorification of God and the edification of the church. So sing!

Another huge thing I’ve been learning this year is that God uses our failures. For my fellow enneagram friends, I have recently accepted that I am a 3 wing 2. For those who are not enneagram savvy, this means that I am an achiever and tend to place a lot of my value in successes and accomplishments. I fear failure big time. A podcast I recently listened to said, “people don’t really identify with our successes. Successes can actually be intimidating. But people can always identify with our failures.” I have been learning about this a lot. In worship, this looks like being okay with mistakes. Pursue excellence, yes, but also be okay with making mistakes. I can mess up a hundred chords, my voice can crack through the whole set, I can sing the wrong words, but God still uses that. Garrett and I have laughed about this a few times this year. The days where we walk out of the arena thinking about everything that went wrong are also the days people come up to us saying, “Hey, great job tonight! Worship was awesome!” Oof. That’s convicting. God doesn’t need me to be perfect to use me, He just needs me to be available. 

I just read Andrew Peterson’s book, Adorning the Dark, and he says, “You can think and plan and think some more, but none of that is half as important as doing something, however imperfect or incomplete it is. Intention trumps execution.” Intention trumps execution. God just wants us to serve Him, no matter how imperfect we are because let’s face it- we are imperfect people. And guys, that translates to all of ministry, not just worship. That translates to sharing the Gospel. I do not need to have all of the right words or the perfect testimony in order for God to use me. To quote my main man Bob Goff, “God doesn’t grimace at our failures; He delights in our attempts” (Bob Goff, Everybody Always). What that looks like for you, I’m not sure, but I want to encourage you to grab onto this hope and keep serving the Lord and sharing the Gospel no matter how much, like me, you may fear failing.

I was told to keep this post to 700 words, and I failed at that (hey look! A failure!), so I’ll end with this. God is good. He delights in our attempts. He redeems our failures for His good. He is faithful, kind, loving, just, merciful, and mighty. But most of all, He is worthy of our worship. Psalm 100:1 says “make a JOYFUL NOISE to the Lord.” Joyful noise. I want to challenge you in that. God does not care what your voice sounds like, He just wants you to make a joyful noise. I’m certainly going to try and keep this mindset this year, and it is my prayer that you, my friends, will too. Sing to the Lord. Make a joyful noise.