Today I started singing a song in a different key than I was playing on the guitar. After trying to recover, I just stopped, apologized to the congregation and we started the song over. Have any of you done this, and if so what did you do
It happens on occasion - - - no matter HOW much advanced preparation you do. We are all human, no one is perfect, and even the most seasoned leaders and musicians experience it. I think the key to getting past that particular bump in the road is to NOT make a big deal of it, just do what you need to do to make it right, and go on. Most congregation members will appreciate the fact that you can acknowledge your imperfections. The main thing is to be pleasing to Him, and if the 'recovery' is done in a glorifying way, then I believe He will allow the congregation to hear what HE wants them to hear and His presence will override any musical burps!
This happens to us all at one point or another. Be encouraged, you are not alone! Definately, don't make a big deal of it. I have been in more misshaps than you can imagine over the last 10 years, most of the time not even my fault. But the thing to do is to smile and just move forward. Laugh it off, dont go into a back room and cry afterwards (been there, done that!) The one time I just said "Oops!" and laughed right into the microphone, and the congregation laughed and afterwards, several people said they thought that was "awesome" and even "cute". I have learned to just learn from the experience, and move on. Next time, you'll know exactly what to do! :-)
The worship leader before me had a nasty habit of playing songs in different keys all the time. What made it worse is that on Sundays where I was leading, I'd often introduce newer songs that she would have to change the keys of so she could sing them later. It was not uncommon for our worship folders to contain 3-4 keys of each song. Needless to say, mistakes happened!
It's a lot simpler since she left and I became the only worship leader.
One thing that I've found that helps me, I keep all my lead sheets in a personal size file box for my team separate from the general filing cabinet. It still can get confusing because many songs have capo versions for guitar but it means when we pull the charts for a song, we only get the ones we've used before. And I think that has been good because I do need to use different keys in many of the songs we use. It even gets more complicated when I add horns.... It's better for them if we have keys like Ab or Eb, rather than E and A, etc and nothing is written in those keys these days :-)
These kinds of things are a regular occurance for me - forgetting words, starting in the wrong key (both usually in songs I have written), dropping my plectrum mid-song, starting the tempo too fast/slow - and that's just the first three songs! I don't for one minute believe that God is somehow using these to keep me "humble" (do we really believe God does things like that to "teach us a lesson"?). They are all just "hazards" of the job.
Early on in our ministry, we had two songs called "Spirit of the Living God." So far so good. One particularly memorable Sunday, I sang the words to one of those songs and played the music to the other. It takes a great deal of flexibility to do that. I didn't see it that way at the time. 20 years later it's really funny! You'll survive and I promise you God won't kick you out of heaven. He might even still allow you in the Throne Room! LOL :)