So Long Soloists

11 Dec

If we were as nice to the lost as we are to horrible soloists at church we might see a revival. That’s what I was thinking as I sat listening to the weekly “special” that preceded my sermon. It was an awful solo. The words to the song were doctrinally correct but the sound bordered on heresy. I knew what would happen when our resident William Hung finished. Everyone would applaud. They always do. They know not what they do.  With their applause they are inspiring a host of other tone deaf members to take the stage.  As I endured my musical purgatory, a visitor caught my eye. Judging from the look on his face, he either had serious indigestion or he agreed with me. This singer was awful, and everyone knew it. This was church, however, so we would never tell someone they can’t sing. That would be unChristlike, right? But for a moment I began to daydream of what it would be like if we were honest about our singing in church. I slipped out of reality and into my own little world….

The song ended. I stood to my feet and said, “Well, that was a horrible solo wasn’t it?” Silence fell like a blanket over the church. I looked at Mr. Hung and said “Seriously man, you stink. You can’t sing. You need to stop.” I explained to him that God could use him in a lot of ways, but singing solos wasn’t one of them. I looked over the shocked congregation and continued to shower them with the truth. “Every week one of you well-meaning wailers gets up here and butchers a song. The truth is we only have a few people in this church that can actually carry a note. It’s time we admit it. Everyone in this church should sing but only about three of you should do it into a microphone”.

“From now on we are going to have qualifications for our soloists at church. For instance, if you want to sing, you have to have some talent. And I don’t want to hear anything about a joyful noise. The noise I’m hearing lately is anything but joyful. We are going to hold our singers to the same standards as our musicians. We require our musicians to be able to hit the correct notes so we’re going to require our singers to do the same. It’s time we get honest with one another about our singing. Bill, you sound like Barney Fife. Mary Ellen, when you sing half the senior adults turnoff their hearing aids. Harry, when you sing How Great Thou Art, all I can think about is how great you ain’t.”

With everyone’s full attention I decided to offer a little advice: “Don’t ask your mom if you are a good singer. She thinks you’re the best at everything. Ask someone who will be honest with you. Church, we all need a little Simon Cowell in us. People need to hear the truth. Sometimes the truth hurts. But people who can’t sing need to know that they can’t. It’s up to us to tell them.” At that moment people began to look at one another and tell the truth. One by one horrible soloists began repenting of the torture they had inflicted upon countless eardrums. People brought their accompaniment tracks to the altar and left them there. Mothers came openly confessing they had misled their children into believing they were future American Idols. It was so beautiful. Never again would we hear “Is it rewound?” or “Tap, tap…is the microphone on?” Our worship leader trembled, weeping and overcome with joy.

The sound of applause woke me from my daydream. Startled, I realized the solo was over. I was back in reality. I made my way to the pulpit. I couldn’t help but notice our visitor looked as if his indigestion had turned into a kidney stone. With all the courage I could muster up, I looked over the crowd and said, “Let’s be honest, that was awful.” The congregation released a collective gasp. The people looked shocked, some even horrified. Except for the visitor, he was smiling ear to ear. I won’t bore you with the rest of the details of that day. They really don’t matter. But if you’re interested, I am available for pulpit supply.

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11 Responses to “So Long Soloists”

  1. Janna Roznos December 11, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

    As someone who worked in a church for years, my mantra was ‘there is no such thing as a bad volunteer’. Of course, some volunteers are better than others. So, if I had a volunteer who couldn’t arrange cookies on a platter (and Yes! There are those who can’t do that simple task) then I would ask them to do something else and literally tell them that they were better at this other job – pouring coffee for instance, then of instance, folding the bulletins. As for the singing, I think all church singing is usually bad/off tune and slow – very, very slow, but then I figured those people wearing the choir robes probably can’t arrange cookies on a plate or even pour a clean cup of coffee either.

  2. Adrian Ford December 12, 2014 at 1:15 am #

    LOL 😁

  3. Wisdom's Quill December 12, 2014 at 10:00 am #

    This is very refreshing…LOL. Can’t stop laughing.
    BE

  4. michaelradin December 22, 2014 at 12:07 am #

    I love Janna’s reply sometimes its best to take someone aside not humiliate them
    I think there’s a loving way to do such things
    I do agree never ask family or someone who always forces you to have faith in your self over everything clearly there are things we miss and let me just say one more thing
    in some churches what you think is horrible could be the best ya got ! Jus sayin
    But so many have turned worship into American Idol show too its not right

    If you want qualifications look to the person serving are they doing because of a need
    Is their life with Christ square are any of us

    But I do agree some think solo time is karaoke time …..save it for the shower sure I agree
    If someone agreed to let them do a solo a head of time thats on them not humiliate them right in the middle of service anymore than you would if an usher dropped offering plate.

  5. michaelradin December 22, 2014 at 4:28 am #

    I forgot to add many lost are those who have been in church their whole life. Revival might happen when we learn to love those right next to us not humiliate them.

  6. dailydoseadmin January 23, 2015 at 10:25 pm #

    Missing you on twitter, but ready for your next blog as well. (Wilsondaddyof8)

  7. Stephani January 26, 2015 at 9:28 pm #

    I don’t know if you’re still checking in here, but I wanted you to know you’re missed here and on Twitter. I hope you are well and that your decision to leave is a practical one and not because you are going through something difficult. I pray you and your family are well and will pray for you as you come to mind. And who knows maybe when we least expect it you will pop up in our twitter feeds again. Grace and peace.

    • unappreciatedpastor February 11, 2015 at 5:30 pm #

      Thanks so much Stephani! I am doing well. Not checking Twitter but did decide to manage this email account so as not to get too far behind. Thanks for the message. I miss the Unappreciated Pastor but did need a break. I may come back in June. but there are more than enough anons out there now to pick up my slack. thanks for thinking of me and for praying. Folks like you are a blessing!

  8. Suetomit_sogol February 14, 2015 at 4:34 pm #

    Please for the love of God, St. Peter & Paul, we NEED you back in the blogosphere & twitter-sphere!! How’s this for an old fashioned legalistic guilt trip: by being silent in the online world, “you are hiding your light under a bushel!”

    • unappreciatedpastor February 15, 2015 at 3:33 pm #

      Ha! Thank you for your passionate plea! I am humbled. Perhaps June 1 I’ll be back.

  9. Kate March 6, 2017 at 8:32 pm #

    I have never, ever understood why churches allow incompetent singers to sing. You aren’t doing them a favour, you are enabling them to make fools of themselves. Auditions are essential.

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