Don’t Be Afraid to Laugh At Yourself

Every once in a while, while leading worship, you can’t hide from the congregation the fact that, at that moment, you don’t know what you’re doing. In these moments, you can either try to keep digging (in which case you usually make things worse) or just laugh at yourself.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.

Back in May (of 2012), my church had its very last Sunday morning service on its beloved property of over 275 years. I’ve talked about this before (specifically here). Sunday May 13th was the day, and at the end of the opening time of worship at our 11:00am service, after we sang “Behold Our God”, I had planned for our congregation say Psalm 95:1-7.

The problem was that I hadn’t checked to make sure it was ready to go on the screen. So after “Behold Our God” ended, and I said “let’s read together from Psalm 95”, nothing came up. Awkward moment number one.

The other problem was that I was depending on the words being on the screen so I didn’t have a bible or a printout close by. So I had to rely on my memory. Which at that particular moment, in front of 1,000 people, decided to fail me. Awkward moment number two.

By God’s grace, I had the presence of mind to laugh at myself.

After realizing that Psalm 95 was, in fact, NOT going to come up on the screen, I said “…maybe I’ll read Psalm 95“. People laughed. Phew. Awkward tension lowered a little bit.

Then, after fumbling my way through trying to remember how Psalm 95:1-7 went (and not doing a very good job), I said “(pause) that’s a paraphrase“. People laughed. Phew. Awkward tension lowered again. Then I quickly prayed before I made any more mistakes!

My point is that in those worship leading moments when it’s clear to you and to the congregation that you’ve made a mistake — it’s usually a good idea to just laugh at yourself. It gives them permission to laugh too. It lowers the tension, breaks the ice, and then everyone can move on.

Here’s the clip of the moment for you to enjoy. Feel free to laugh.

5 thoughts on “Don’t Be Afraid to Laugh At Yourself

  1. Paul November 29, 2012 / 8:25 pm

    I once went for an impromptu key change during a song, which wasn’t an unusual occurrence and the worship team I was playing with was capable of handling it. However, instead of moving away from the microphone to tell the team, proceeded to yell ‘We’re going to A!!!’ right into the mic. On the bright side, the entire congregation was well informed and ready for the change.

    • Jamie Brown November 29, 2012 / 8:27 pm

      I’m sure they appreciated the heads-up!

  2. Jorge November 29, 2012 / 10:41 pm

    Its great just to know there is some else out there laughing at himself too. Thanks for the reminder. When those times come and i just laugh at myself, I also remind myself by proclaiming sometimes quietly or sometimes aloud “its all by your grace Lord”.

  3. Rob December 1, 2012 / 1:28 pm

    @paul – That is hilarious! Jamie- Thanks for the reminder. I get caught up in performance mode too often.

  4. Sam December 4, 2012 / 9:33 am

    I’ve done all of these more than once…you’d think I’d learn:
    (1) Started singing a song in a different key from the rest of the band.
    (2) Started a song in the wrong key (like, D instead of G or something ridiculous), and had to bail out because the chorus was too high.
    (3) Started a really lively song we’d practiced really hard to get perfect, then had to stop after one verse because I hadn’t given the projection guy the right lyrics.
    It’s definitely best to be a good example and laugh at yourself. Obviously I make that easy for myself.

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