Fact: Coping With Two Different Church Songleaders Can Be Tense
I Am Not Here
to point fingers or cause a truckload of sympathy to be dished upon the people that I was associated with, of all places, in a church assembly. Honestly, you would think that such frailties could only occur outside the boundaries of an established church denomination, but I swear to you . . .this is the truth.
From Sundays from 10 a.m., to 12 noon thereabout (depending on the length of the song leader and breath of our pastor) lasted and the feeling of pure boredom began to erupt within the confines of the congregation. Some Sundays church dismissed at 12 noon, and sometimes not. But the time that I am going to tell you about was several of those "not dismissed on Sunday on time."
Going Back a Number of Years
it was 1990 and in October of that year, this was a time of transition. Since 1979 thereabout, I had ventured into the “pleasures” of drinking—beer, whiskey, wine, vodka and homemade whiskey “Moonshine,” and let me tell you: no about of consumption on my part helped my financial, physical, or spiritual life. Fact is, the alcohol abusing coupled with a few Good Time Charlies, plus a lot of alcohol, took their toll on me. But did I tell anyone? Noooo! But I did, on occasion, talk to myself in our bathroom mirror when I was fighting to get past (another) hang-over. If you have ever “tied one on,” you were hit with a hang-over and I know that you can relate.
Each week and weekend (mostly) was the same, identical to the prior weekend---the wife and daughter jump in the car, head north to a wet county, eat at some restaurant, load up with my beer, and head home. I got to feeling like a hamster on a wheel, running, but not getting anywhere. But I kept my boredom to myself hoping that maybe ONE weekend that I would achieve THAT one hour, maybe two, in which I got to drink a few gallons of beer, sleep like a log, get up early, cook breakfast for my wife and daughter all while keeping a beaming smile upon my face.
None of the aforementioned dream ever materialized. But it was one of my goals. If you have ever abused alcohol, then you have had that ONE dream, and maybe you achieved it. But if you didn’t, I can understand. Life is not easy for people who abuse alcohol.
Now Let’s Go Back To Church
and see what I am going to talk about, but you need to watch and listen, because some of the things (in these morning church services) are slippery, at most, and confusing at the least. Do I have your attention? We ARE talking about church services, not another installment of Hogan’s Heroes? I hope not.
Truthfully, (the) songleader, (singular) that knew years ago (in church), was arguably the most-dedicated, devout, and humble songleader whose walk with Jesus was closer than mine, but I was giving it all that I had. I loved this older man, and still do in 2019—although he lives in the Northern states and I still reside in the Heart of Dixie, and you can figure out what state I am talking about.
I am not trying to stall for time in order to tell you (the) trials that I had with (this) one songleader. I am merely setting the stage for you to get a deeper understanding of where I attended church at this time. Deal?
we had two songleaders; one was in his early 30s and the other was in his late 60s. Sure, there were belief differences between the two since they both came from different aged-congregations, and I understood this. So did the younger songleader. And truthfully, both were fine songleaders, but my one trial that I had every Sunday morning and Sunday night had everything to do with the older songleader. Maybe you can fully-understand where I am coming from.
First, it is NOT a matter of hatred, race, or Judea-Christian beliefs. Both guys were two of the finest Christians that I have ever met. So when the 10 a.m., Sunday service began, we were in order per the denomination of the church belief. (This) church body, not the entire body of Christ in a world-wide basis. Just mine.
One Sunday night, I was there at church when “this” change happened and since that time, our church services were never the same. And with plenty of prayers and studying God’s Word, I could never get the answer “why” this change had to take place. I already knew the “who,” so I as halfway home.
To be fair, the younger songleader gave the older songleader, a few minutes to share some of his favorite Gospel songs that were right there in front of us, in our church hymnal. So this was not about the older man making up songs that he grabbed in the air. The turn-about in the Song Service was obviously-not appreciated (by a majority) of the congregation, while some of the crowd did like what the older man sang in his few minutes.
From That Time
onward, “this” change took roots and was never the same—the younger man allowing the older man some singing time. But to be honest, the song services led by this older man was so boring and dead, I dreaded Sunday mornings and evenings, due to this older man and HIS (notice the word) song choices. ALL of his songs were Jesus-based and very spiritual, but another truth be told . . .all of his songs were very, very SLOW. And I do not mean that in a mental state.
The Open-Signs That
proved that the older man’s singing was not only getting on the crowd’s nerves, but starting a certain amount of temper and threats said underneath the breath about some church members NOT wanting to stay in our church thanks for the atmosphere in the song service provided by the older man. Truth is truth and I cannot lie to you.
Aside from the older man’s song choices, was becoming “the last nail in the coffin,” for some church members, were the amount of each song that the older man chose for us to sing and when the song had five or six verses, he did not stop until we, sometimes he, sang it all. Frankly, including myself, we were not all in the physical shape of modern-day Olympians and unable to have breath enough for his next song of eight verses.
You could hear the congregation’s mumbling (while the older man stood up and sang and sang)--you could even hear the congregation’s feet scuffling on the floor, looking around at each other and trimming their fingernails—which all of these things were NOT things that glorified God, but in the human element, boredom and singing EVERY verse and very slow, did take its toll.
Months went by. And no sign of a good change was in sight. Personally, I know that (in my church’s denomination) a Christian’s life is not only governed, but led by the Holy Spirit and the thing is, no two days or weeks are every alike when The Holy Spirit is moving and getting glory to God. But in my young life as a Christian, I had studied God’s Word to know that The Holy Spirit does NOT lead any Christian to do THE SAME as last week, even the last hour. I am not passing judgment, just telling the truth.
there was one change: the younger songleader and his wife, who was also our pianist, left our church body to pursue another avenue at another town and church in order to worship in a NON-PROGRAMMED location—leaving the older songleader all to this own and to me, I could tell by his body language that he loved being the only songleader who sang as long as an hour every Sunday morning and night—which I might add, in THIS particular denomination, is taking time from the minister who delivers The Word for members and non-members.
Then one Sunday morning, we arrived at church only to find that the older songleader, his wife, brother-in-law and sister had departed the church because they left their church door keys to the church laying in a strategic place in order for people to see them. We were all stunned; shock was evident on our faces as we looked at each other. No one dared to say one word.
But the worship service that morning and evening were DIFFERENT.
That is all that I need to say.
June 6, 2019____________________________________________________
© 2019 Kenneth Avery