Please, Just Sing!

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  • A national Gospel Music conference begins here inJacksonville today. It will meet for the next several days.

    I have not been invited to speak at this conference. Infact, it would be a safe bet that virtually no one who will attend thisconference even knows that something called H.B. Charles, Jr. exists.
    But I have something important to say to the hundreds, maybethousands of Gospel music artists and attendees who are influenced by theirrecordings. I have a message to deliver. I have a class to teach. I have a wordto give.
    Here it is: Please, please, just sing!
    I say this in the most loving way I can say something thatreally irks me. Please, for God’s sake, just sing!
    I do not know who started this trend in Gospel Music. And Ido not know who popularized it. But I am begging someone to take a stand andstop it. Anyone, start a new trend by just getting up and singing.
    It is not edifying for singers to get up and talk beforethey sing. You don’t need to introduce yourself. You don’t need to tell us topraise the Lord (We will if you sing!). And you don’t need to mention yourproject or material that is available (That goes for preachers, too. We deservea post entitled, Please, Just Preach!”) Just sing.
    And it is most definitely not edifying for you to talkduring the song! If you wrote the song but cannot sing, let the singers sing.Don’t compensate for your inability to sing by talking through the whole song,or worse, talking over the people who are actually singing. You know who youare!
    This is called “music,” isn’t it? Then sing it. If you wantto preach or exhort or whatever, then acknowledge your calling, get sometraining, and be diligent to present yourself to God as one approved (2 Timothy2:15).
    I am targeting Gospel artists, because what you do on yourecords has great influence on what local church musicians, directors, choirs,and soloists do. It shouldn’t be that way. It may be better if hymnals –representing music that has stood the test of time – have more influence. Butit is what it is. However, you can at least use your power for good. Don’t justthink about how many CDs you can sell. Think about those who are influenced bywhat you record.
    To be fair, there is a place for spoken communication inmusic ministry (Col. 3:16). Exhortations and encouragements are fine. But muchof the talkativeness seems to be unprocessed, insensitive, and not helpful.
    When I was a boy preacher, my dad taught me to do what youare asked to do. If they ask you to pray, pray. Don’t sing. If they ask you toread the scripture, read the scripture. Don’t give a sermonette on it. Peoplemay not be impressed with you, he said, if you just do what you were asked todo. But they will respect you. And you may get an opportunity to do more at alater date. I still think this is good advice.
    So, please, just sing. Is that asking too much? 

    H.B. Charles Jr.

    Pastor-Teacher at the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church of Jacksonville and Orange Park, Florida.