Stepping Away from the Mic


As a vocalist and worship leader, the semantics of where I stand in front of the microphone has been drilled into me. Through many years of practice and application, I have set these parameters to memory, working with technicians to get the best possible sound each time I step up to the mic. The goal is for a crystal clear, rich quality sound and balanced tone.

Yes, there truly is a science to microphone placement and vocal projection.

I know this full well.

Now, I have been singing for over 30 years (gracious!), working hard to perfect my craft and ability. But it has been only within the last handful of years that I have discovered the most valuable tool yet: the willingness to step away from the mic.

Perhaps that sounds silly. Maybe even simple. But I assure you that the Lord is showing me a special reserve of the divine in this simple act of obedience.

What I have learned (and I am learning still) is that even the gifts we have been graciously given from the Lord can become idols within our sense of ownership and identity. And though they may fit like a glove, they can never replace our true skin. These gifts were always meant to have a balance and perspective rooted in whose we are, not what we are.

Can you relate? Perhaps not in the singing and performing realm, but what about in other areas of your life?

Raising your kids from toddlers to teens and finding yourself having a hard time backing up to let them spread their wings?

Or what about your career? Perhaps you have worked tirelessly to establish yourself in a particular field and now you are finding yourself in a struggle to balance your family, your marriage, with the growing expectations and demands?

Here’s the thing – sometimes our mighty desire to be seen, heard, and valued takes up residence with that microphone (or other amplification device – i.e. social media sites, volunteer positions, rank, or job stature) and we forget that it is only a borrowed space. And despite enormous efforts from a host of hawkers to convince you that YOU (and I) deserve the attention and praise, or worse, that we should fight for it, it was never supposed to be about us anyway. And THAT is always a good reminder.


Everything we have. Everything we are. Every good thing about ourselves is a gift that has always had the purpose and destination of bringing glory to God.

We miss the mark when we look too proudly at ourselves in the mirror and change the course of our aim and arrow. He is the only mark that matters. His Name is the only One that is worthy of lifting up or remembering.

Let me share a sweet discovery with you. This opening of my hands and releasing of those “spaces” has actually opened my ears to a sweeter sound than my own voice or determination has ever produced…it is the sound of the saints.

My ears and my heart mingle with the divine when I am willing to step away from the mic and let the saints hear themselves sing – collectively ringing out “Holy, Holy, Holy, LORD God Almighty!” This sound, this holy roar, bold and confident, echoes from heart to heart throughout our meeting space. Inevitably, I will see smiles break forth – both from them and from the Lord – as they take ownership of their worship.

It is a powerful moment, as a worship leader, when you take the chance to let the congregation sing on their own. They have it in them, trust me. But sometimes they just need the invitation to be heard, to run their race. When you are willing to create a space for the Body of Christ to hear themselves sing, something magical happens.

Worship should always be invitational–inviting others to join in the mighty roar of praise to the One who is always worthy to receive it.

Recently, at the Strength2Thrive Conference in San Diego, CA, when I took the opportunity to step away from the mic, I was struck again by the power of their willing praise. They were truly roaring. Roaring with adoration. Roaring with gratitude. And in that willing space, they found a mighty voice together. And it was marvelous to behold.


The song I want to share with you this week is a popular Audio Adrenaline song, entitled, “The Sound of the Saints.” This version, though, brought tears to my eyes. It is actually sung by Hunter Street Baptist Church youth choir. Notice how the lead singer steps away and gives others some space to shine and worship…SO beautiful! Enjoy!


With joy for the journey,




Planting Roots currently has an opening for a Worship Coordinator as Sarah focuses more on writing. We are so excited for her and praying about who will step in that place. The Lord already has someone chosen. Could it be you? If you have a heart for worship and experience in leading a worship team as well as knowledge regarding CCLI and other regulations, would you pray about joining us in this adventure? You can see the full job description here.