A Call to Worship: “We will Sing” Song Story

When I formally became a worship leader almost seven years ago, I had no idea what to expect. I had been performing and writing songs since I was a teenager, but I knew right away that leading worship would be different. For the first time, I realized I had to consider the congregation, those sitting in the pews or standing to sing when the music began. It definitely wasn’t about me and whether or not I could put on a good performance. I was a leader now, and the songs I chose had to be approachable for those gathered in the sanctuary— in a vocal range that would suit the average singer and lyrically rooted in Biblical theology. I couldn’t choose a song simply because I liked it; I had to consider what words I was putting in the mouth of my congregation. What was I asking everyone to say to the Lord through the songs we sang? It was a great weight, but also a great honor and privilege as I began on this journey. It quickly became more than just a job but a calling. How had I lived so long, fumbling through songwriting and occasional performing without experiencing this incredible reality? I felt like I had found a piece of myself that I never knew was missing. I found the heart of worship— the way in which I connected most intimately with my Savior. I get choked up now just thinking about it.
I have been blessed to lead worship in an extremely accommodating congregation. My visual impairment has never been a barrier to ministry. I have many gifted musicians willing to lend their voices and instruments to our Sunday morning services. I have grown as a musician, being stretched to learn new music that I never thought I would have the ability to play without the aid of written music. On the surface, it would be easy to say that things were going extremely well as I transitioned into formal ministry, and for the most part, this is still true today.
But in 2014, the road got a bit rocky. When I look back at that year, two things come to mind: abounding creativity and absolute chaos. It all started early in the Spring when I walked through a time of personal examination. I found that I had erected walls around my heart when it came to some of my relationships, and I knew this was a result of a recent rift in a friendship. I had my guard up from then on and moving forward. I didn’t let just anyone into my life… or my heart. I threw myself into my work and that’s when things got crazy.
Our pastor came up with an idea for a summer experiment. He wanted our worship teams to consider unity and connectedness, so he orchestrated a major schedule change. He took team members from each rotation and mixed them up. Every team that was accustomed to playing and singing together was no more. Leaders fumbled for a plan. What would the blend of voices be like? How would we go about scheduling practices? Who would carry the responsibility of accompanying these newly formed teams?
It was a great experiment in theory—forcing us to branch out and work with others we may not have considered earlier. It worked well for me in the long-run. The worship leader from the Praise Team eventually became an asset to my OneVoice team, and I never would have considered working with her if I had not discovered that we could collaborate that Summer. But in the midst of the crazy, we were a mess. The hoped-for unity and connectedness was slow to materialize. But we certainly learned a lot on the journey, and it inspired my song “We will Sing (Let the Walls Fall Down.)”
I was reading Joshua 6 one day, and I was struck with a realization. I read about the Israelites as they prepared to conquer the city of Jericho. For six days, the Israelites marched around the walled city of Jericho one time each day, blasting the trumpets. Then, on the seventh day, at Joshua’s command, they raised up a shout. It was the shouts and the blast of the trumpet that caused the walls of the city to come crashing down. Can you imagine the sound that must have created— a sound so powerful that it demolished the walls just like that?
Why such a grand and glorious conquering of the city? “Shout! For the LORD has given you the city! The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the LORD” (Joshua 6:16). It got me thinking: what if we at FRC worshipped so intently and so loudly that the walls we had erected came crashing down?
Now, lest you think that I’m comparing worship to a militaristic exercise, hear me out. Just like the walls erected around Jericho to protect the city from invasion, many of us have walls around our hearts to protect us from painful circumstances. I certainly had my walls up in the summer of 2014. Instead of being open to growth and change, I closed myself off from others as a means to stay in my own safe little bubble. I knew that the text in Joshua 6 was trying to tell me something about my personal faith journey and the current state of our worship teams.
It would take time and intentionality, seeking unity within the messy chaos. But when the summer ended, we had come to a few conclusions. First, we would return to working with our typical teams with a new sense of purpose. We no longer took our leaders and accompanists for granted. We expressed gratitude for those people and things we had overlooked in the past. Second, we celebrated what we had learned when we were split up and given new roles. We explored new avenues for collaboration. Third, we welcomed the arrival of some new participants in our department, something I truly believe would not have happened so easily if we had not walked through the struggle.
In the end, I realized worship leading was a bit like a battle, just like the one that took place at the walls of Jericho. Again, I wondered: what if we at FRC worshipped so intently and so loudly that the walls we had erected came crashing down? What if we sang with such passion and unity that the people in the neighboring homes came running outside because they were curious about all of the noise? What if people in the surrounding communities began to hear about our worship and marveled about our devotion to the Lord? Do you remember Joshua 6:16? “…The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the LORD.” What would it look like if FRC and the literal walls of the building were devoted to the Lord! Wow, talk about a revival in our hearts and minds! Maybe the brick structure wouldn’t actually come tumbling down, but maybe our preconceived ideas about worship would become altered. Maybe we would start to care less and less about what we could get out of church and begin to care more and more about what we could bring Him in worship. Perhaps we could move past our worries about what other people think and simply immerse ourselves in worship: raising our hands, shouting out loud, dancing in the aisles… For a traditional congregation, it seems like a crazy idea, doesn’t it? Dancing in the aisles— really?
But our members don’t have to dance in the aisles for the walls to come down. It begins simply with a willingness to open our hearts up to the One who deserves our highest praise. It will happen one step at a time as we let go of everything that is holding us back. Then we will find a way to come together, and with one voice bring those walls to the ground.
Four years later, we are still on this journey, and to my knowledge there hasn’t been any dancing in the aisles, but I have witnessed the hope that exists for barrier-free worship.
“Let the walls fall down. Let ‘em fall. Let ‘em fall.”

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