So Special by Sheri LaFontaine
Somewhere this Sunday morning, away from the megachurch show,  is a little country church where someone is preparing to sing their special.
Most of us have done this at one time or another. Some continue to do so quite often, while others fall into the “once or never in a lifetime” lot. One thing is for sure, singing a special can be quite special for both the singer and the audience. Here’s a few things to remember when you are taking the big step from the pew to the platform.

Something Special
First, keep in mind that a special should be just that; something special. Choose a song that perhaps isn’t something the congregation sings every Sunday in their worship.

Approach and Exit
How you approach the stage can set the tone for the entire experience. If you are acting like a nervous wreck, chances are, the audience will become nervous too. Approaching the stage with confidence can set everyone at ease. Not pride mind you, but a healthy confidence.
Before leaving the stage it is always a polite thing to acknowledge your audience. A simple smile will do, but try not to rush off the platform without some eye contact.

Others
Remember that the song you choose is not just worship between you and God anymore. If it was, you could do so right from your pew or in your car, shower etc. There’s a transition that takes place when you choose to sing for others. A special is testifying in song. It’s about choosing a song that has been a blessing to you and now you want to share it with your brothers and sisters in Christ. It becomes all about the congregation at that point. You want to be used by God to be a blessing to others.

Message
The message of the song is the heart of your special. You are not choosing the best song to showcase your voice, but the song that touched your heart and will now help others.
For this very reason, it is good to remember that the words are the most important thing. Everything done vocally, as well as every action is to enhance the words of the song. In order to do this you must “learn your words!”. Don’t be the tacky cell-phone-in-hand singer. You are preparing to sing before the King, the very Body of Christ. Would you sing for the president without practicing?
Saying your words clearly is extremely important. If they can’t understand the message, there is no reason for you to be on stage.

Together
When singing with other people, be mindful of them. Blending is very important, even when you are leading. Unity is a powerful thing. Even if your voice is more powerful or ten times better than those you are singing with, when you choose to sing with others, you are choosing to come together as one voice.
Singing together is not just about unity of voice, but also spirit. If there is something between you and the one you are singing with, it’s a good idea to make it right before you share the stage. Nothing should interfere with the delivery of the message.

Sound Man’s Worst Nightmare
If your mic is not close enough to your mouth for you to be heard, again, there is no reason for you to be on stage. Holding the mic too far away, causes the sound guy to have to turn you up. This can cause feedback, ringing and even a nasty squeal. Screaming into a mic hurts the ears and can ruin the message of a song as well. Either one can quickly make you a sound man’s worst nightmare.

The Fight of the Gifted
Another thing to keep in mind is, if God has given you a gift and you have chosen to use it for The Lord, you automatically have an enemy after you. It’s the fight of the gifted. If there’s one thing Satan hates, it’s someone who is using their gift to glorify God. And he will usually set out to destroy you by one of two very different things…Pride or Nerves. Either is not of God.
Pride is usually easy to spot. You can see it in the clothing, their appearance, body language, and what is done vocally. Believe me, people are smart enough to know if you are wrapped up in yourself or wrapped up in the message and anointing of the song.
I like to point out one of the best examples of this. Christina Aguilera forgetting the words to the National Anthem at the Super Bowl made waves across America. Her publicity department said that she just forgot and it could happen to anyone. This is true. However, from the very first note, it was easy to tell that her mind was not on the message of the song at all, but on what she could do vocally with the tune. Many true Americans were smart enough to ask the question, “Where was her heart”?
Another form of pride is when you find yourself trying to push an agenda. You are trying to prove a point by choosing a song based on your own motive or ideas. Ask yourself, “Are you promoting His plan or yours?”
The other dart satan tries to shoot your way comes in the way of unsettled nerves. I’m not talking about being humble or just the meek personality. I’m talking about fear. Nervousness is NOT from God. He does not give us a spirit of fear. You can be a meek person but there is no scripture that says nervousness is good. An unsettled, scared or worried spirit comes from one source and it’s not God.
If you find yourself struggling with either of these things, the best form of attack is prayer.

Prayer
The best way to prepare for a special is to pray. Newsflash! Prayer works! God is waiting to hear from you. He wants your special to be a true blessing to His people.

Heart
Making sure your heart is right before you hold the mic is the key to everything.
I’ve heard it said many times that singing in your home church can sometimes be the hardest. It’s because they know you better than anyone else. They know the life you lived before you stepped on stage. They know if your testimony matches the message of your song. This being said, God does not expect us to be perfect. All He requires is a surrendered vessel and a sacrificed gift.
This is what makes the enemy so upset and has him coming after you. He wants you, not the unbeliever doing karaoke at the local bar.  He’s after your gift, to seek kill and destroy.
This just shows how powerful a surrendered gift can be. When you get up to sing a special it could mean the difference of salvation for someone. So sing on…and make it special.