In my early twenties, I helped plant a church. At that point in my life, I’d never heard of biblical equality. All I knew was that men could lead men, women, and children, and women could lead women and children, but never men. I don’t recall anyone explicitly explaining those distinctions; it was just how things were. People stuck to their roles, and it didn’t occur to me to question that until I nearly fell off my folding chair one Sunday trying to repress inappropriate laughter.
That morning, the senior pastor made an announcement: “I’m pleased that someone is stepping up to the plate to lead us in worship.”
The announcement came after weeks of singing without a worship leader with the accompaniment of a woman seated at a keyboard in the corner of the room. Since she was positioned with her back to the congregation (so as not to direct men), the congregation had a hard time sticking together. Although the woman played her best, stanza lines overlapped and chorus endings echoed out of sync.
Prior to starting the church, the community had discussed who would contribute what, and it became apparent that not a single man had musical abilities; not one had ever led worship. Given the accepted view in our church that only men should lead “mixed worship,” I saw no reason to communicate that I regularly sang in weddings or that I had led worship in my high school youth group. It was decided that worship services would consist of singing to the indirect playing of the keyboardist (who faced a wall), or to recorded worship music when she was out of town (another source of my problem with inappropriate laughter).
The pastor continued: “Dave [name changed] is willing to lead us in worship, though he says he’s better at engineering than singing. Scripture invites us to ‘make a joyful noise to the Lord,’ and so let’s appreciate Dave’s efforts.”
When Dave opened his mouth, I struggled to control myself. Simply put, out-of-tune singing plus loudness equals hilarity. … Continue Reading