“I’m not feeling it.”; What to do when you don’t like the song

Do it anyway.  Thanks for reading.

Sincerely,

Ron

A big part of me was tempted to post this article just like that. Partly to see what kind of response I’d get and partly because honestly that’s how I feel sometimes. It’s no secret, or at least it shouldn’t be, that you’re not gonna be crazy about every song that comes to you in music ministry. As a leader there will be some you don’t like as much. As a director there will be some you love to direct and some you don’t like directing. As a musician there will be some you just don’t like, period. Everybody gets that….right? I mean, we get that right?

Certainly none of my savvy, intelligent readers expects that every song will touch their very soul and send them straight to heaven. Even if it is Gospel/Christian music. It would simply be impossible for every song to please every member of any music ministry. But we still have a job to do every Sunday, don’t we? So the question becomes how much do you have to “feel” a song before you can do it? Do you have to like every song you’re asked to do before you’ll say yes? Do you have to be in a great mood, fresh off a fantastic day, well-rested with no personal issues, all your proverbial traffic lights showing green? Um, no. You don’t. And if you’re saying no to songs for anything other than the reasons I’m about to list below, then I hope to change your outlook by the end of this article.

First let’s establish what I’m NOT addressing so we have that clear up-front. There are some songs out there that are just not right for you. Not lyrically sound. Not doctrinally sound. Just plain wrong for your group or your audience. All music and no message. I don’t feel those either. So let’s take those out of this discussion before it starts.

But this phrase “I’m not feeling it” is used a lot in music ministries all over the world when none of the situations above exist. It’s used in reference to great songs with powerful lyrics, great music and dripping with spiritual anointing. It’s used in reference to songs that are perfect for your choir, your praise team, your voice. So who’s using this phrase and why? Quite frankly, it’s often used by people who really don’t have any really good reason for saying no to a song other than the fact that they just don’t want to do it for whatever reason.

I won’t try to list all the possible reasons people say no. I’m not in a position to say what’s a valid reason and what isn’t, you know what I mean? But here’s the thing. If you find yourself saying this or something like it frequently when you’re asked to step up and do something in your music ministry; whether it’s leading, playing or directing a song you’re not crazy about, then chances are you’re using the whole “I’m not feeling it” thing as an excuse to avoid doing what’s asked of you for personal reasons.  Every music ministry depends on it’s more gifted members being willing to step up and do what’s asked of them if they’re able. That is, after all, why you’re being asked to do whatever it is that’s being asked of you.  Because the ministry needs you. It’s also why you were given the gift in the first place.

To continue to decline or refuse to do songs that you know in your heart you’re perfectly capable of doing for not much more than your own selfish reasons is simply a sign of spiritual immaturity. And frankly, to continue to do so is to play a very dangerous game with God where your gift is concerned. Romans 12:1 speaks of presenting your body as a living sacrifice because it’s your “reasonable service”. In much the same way, when you’re a part of a music ministry and God has given you special gifts and abilities that He didn’t give other people, it is your reasonable service sometimes to step up and do a song that you many not be “feeling” or crazy about for the sake of that ministry.

In over 30 years of teaching songs I have taught literally hundreds. You think maybe I ran across a few of them I didn’t care for? Of course, constantly. But I personally take great pride in making sure that when I’m up in front of a group teaching a song there is no indication of how I feel about that song personally. I teach with a lot of energy and passion and enthusiasm when I like the song, and just as much when I don’t. Because the fact is, I understand that if I didn’t it could have a profound effect on the group’s attitude as a whole.

Think about it for a minute. What if, for example, every time your choir director or your musician(s) didn’t personally like a song or just didn’t feel like it, they simply refused to teach/direct/play it? How crippling would that be for your music department? Think of your favorite song by your all-time favorite artist. Have you ever thought about how many times an artist has to perform a song that has become a hit? Over and over again, hundreds of times?  You’re being naive if you think they’re excited and feeling it every time.

The point I’m trying to drive home here is that in music ministries we need EVERYBODY. And when you’re asked to step up and do something that’s why you’re being asked. Because we need you.  And if I can really keep it real with you, if we had someone else to ask we would. Because honestly, begging people to come forth gets really old really fast. Listen, don’t be that person, ok? You don’t have to be excited about every song. You don’t have to necessarily like the song. It’s ok if you’re tired, or you had a long day. We all did. God placed you there and gave you that gift for a reason.  Always remember music ministry isn’t about you. It’s not about me. It’s about God.

Image courtesy of chrisroll FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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6 Responses to “I’m not feeling it.”; What to do when you don’t like the song

  1. Alyce Harris says:

    Ron,
    (I liked the original plan for the article!) One thing I find repeatedly in ministry in general, is that stuff I go through and experience, and often don’t like going through, has not been for my benefit, as much as for a tool to be used in future ministry.

    So, the song isn’t reaching you. There may be someone in the congregation who needs exactly that message, in that song, on that morning. They get seriously blessed. “Evabody” may get blessed! Effort gets blessed. Being submitted to God’s will blesses a yielded vessel.

    There have been songs I’ve heard dozens of times. They didn’t necessarily ‘move’ me. That’s OK. Then suddenly, out of nowhere I ‘get’ something about that song I wasn’t getting before; perhaps it was preformed with a choir, in unity and under anointing. Or even God letting me know I need this Now.

    Often a song leads me to the Word to further open my understanding of it. Must admit though, sometimes there really is no ‘there’ there and it’s not scripturally sound. I trust that it works for somebody, and keep it moving. Mine is a congregation perspective. This is perhaps another way to look at it. Great post!

    • Ron Cross says:

      Alyce, great insight as usual. The fact that you are indeed someone who isn’t involved in a music ministry makes your comments very important indeed. Because it’s often that perspective- the perspective of the person sitting in the congregation- that we forget about. Thanks again sis!

  2. Christopher B says:

    Very good posting, it reminds us that it’s not about us but about God. It is our job and obligation to minister to the church and encourage someone who may be going through. Also, to change directions a little, I’ve always wondered who makes the decisions to introduce songs? Is it the director or the pastor that requests songs? I’m only asking because as a director, if you do not like the song, why make the decision to teach it? Is it more about the message and not so much the music that the director feels would be good to minister or is it a collective decision with director/band/pastor? Just a curious thought about the inside workings of a choir because someday I would love an opportunity to direct a choir.

    • Ron Cross says:

      Hey Christopher,

      That tends to differ from church to church. At my church we’ve always made a group decision on songs. The group includes myself as the instructor that will teach it, the minister of music, the rest of the band members and the choir director. We all listen to a song and offer feedback on whether or not we like it. If we don’t we discuss why. We then go with the consensus.

      Ultimately though we don’t know until the song is delivered. That’s why it’s so important not to shoot down songs because of your personal feelings about it. There are songs I didn’t like that absolutely tore the place up when we sang it. The opposite has also happened.

  3. George says:

    Thank you for the insight Ron. I have sung songs that don’t have a message or feel right and I am at a point now that if it does not feel right in my spirit, i am not going to bring or sing it.

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