Real Men Sing

When I was a kid people (mainly goons) often made fun of little boys like me who sang in choir.  Since I had three buddies from my football team who also sang with me in the church children’s choir, I was able to stand up to whatever taunting came my way.  I really loved to sing, and to hear the sound that we could make when we worked to sing well.  As I grew spiritually as well as musically, I came to find more and more meaning in music-making that offered praise to the Lord and that provided outlet for declaring my faith in Him.  By the time I was a teenager, I was unashamed to sing in my youth choir, and even to sing solos and play guitar or trumpet when given opportunity.

Fast forward to recent years and opportunities to reflect on the manliness of singing worship.  Father’s Day has reminded me how much I miss my dad.  It has also caused me to recall the incomparable inspiration of standing next to my dad when singing hymns of worship.  He sang melody awhile and sometimes switched to the bass line for a verse or two.  Though 6 foot is not that tall, Dad was a giant to me, and never more so than when he sang through tears as the truth of Gospel touched his heart and he sang of the grace that saved Him, saved us, and that he so enthusiastically proclaimed through his whole life through his preaching.  Dad taught me “Man things.”  I don’t mean hunting and fishing or building something.  Dad tried a couple of those things with me, probably even because of me, but was usually distracted by visiting with someone during the excursion.  The “man things” I am talking about are deeper truths – things like:

            That real strength is often demonstrated in kindness

            That the greatest power of all is love

            That being self-made is a myth, any good thing is a gift of God’s grace

            That the scripture is true in practice, “A gentle word turns away wrath” (Prov 15:1)

Through his model and his joy in its expression, my dad also taught me that real men sing.  Even though he always pointed to Mom as being the musician, he had a nice baritone bass solo voice.  His enjoyment of song helped to free me to love music and singing.

In our day when there is a certain “look” to be one of the cool worship leaders, it is important that we understand where the power of our song and singing lies.  Real men who have been saved by a real grace from a real Savior have plenty of reason to sing from the depths of our soul.  As long as we are singing the truth of the Gospel of Christ we do not need to turn to anything less than the true power of His presence to attract, to impact, and to transform lives.  In fact, anything less is artificial.

Many of our churches are trying to engage men in “manly activities.”  We have wild game dinners, men’s meetings where a testimony is given by a sports figure, and golf outings for the guys of our fellowships.  Churches organize trips to events where biblical teaching about manhood is celebrated.  There is no doubt that disaster relief ministries provide a wonderful outlet for men to exercise certain skills often associated with the male gender.  These activities are all well and good, and important as applicable for effective ministry to men in our church and community.  But let’s stop to consider how music can aid spiritual formation in men of our congregations, and how men’s participation in music making can model Christian community, spiritual sensitivity, and gratitude for grace.  It is quite likely that pastors and other church leaders would agree that these qualities are crucial to healthy church involvement for men, but it is also likely they will not know how music ministry might be able to participate in this process.

Music Ministers, why not sit down with your pastor and help him evaluate the opportunity of music involvement and participation as a disciple-making ministry for men of your church.  Help him to know how he can encourage and even demonstrate such participation.  Such a conversation might eventually provide your choir with more tenors, basses, and baritones, and/or might enhance the freedom of congregational song as people recognize that “real men” sing!

In joyful song!

Paul

Explore posts in the same categories: Choir Ministry, Church Music, Leading Worship, Singing Worship, Spiritual formation through singing, Worship Reminders, Worship thoughts

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