I’m scheduled to sing “a special” in our morning worship services tomorrow. I’ve been doing this for years, but I’ve always felt odd about it. What is it that makes these songs special? Why is it more special when I sing a solo than when I sing as an alto on the praise team, along with the other praise team members and the whole congregation? It’s obviously not just the solo aspect of it, because when the choir sings, that’s also referred to as “a special”. Apparently it has something to do with people on the platform singing while those in the congregation listen. That makes a song special.

Is that really the way we need to be thinking? The idea is that we’re presenting these songs to the Lord, not the congregation, and in that way, the solos are no different from congregational worship. The first definition of special in my Webster’s dictionary is, “of a kind different from others”. If we accept that definition, then a solo sung with right motives is not special. Solos, ensembles, and congregational singing (not to mention all the aspects of worship that have nothing to do with music) are all the same – an offering to the Lord.

I know special is just a word we’ve come to use in the church to designate a type of song, and some would say it doesn’t matter what we call it. I think it does. I think to say, “This is special,” sets up an expectation of that part of the service as a performance. It’s very hard not to be influenced by that mindset.