What I'm listening to: Rich Mullin's A Liturgy, A Legacy & A Ragamuffin Band
I was so nervous this morning. And I never get nervous. Not when it comes to leading worship, anyway. When I first started to lead with my guitar, I was a little nervous, but not like today.
Actually, it was more worry that nervousness.
They installed part of our new sound system this week. The mixer's still on back order, but everything else is pretty much done. So that was simply an added question mark on what worship was going to be like this morning. Because this was the first Sunday morning service I lead worship with an entire band behind me - three guitar, four vocalists, a keyboardist and a drummer. But that's not what made me worry. What I was worried about was what the congregation response was going to be.
They knew it was coming. We'd been rehearsing for the last couple of months, and we led worship for the youth programs' fall kickoff last month. But having all those people up there was going to be a new thing. And this is a very traditional church.
Meaning, it was just a few years ago that they were still leading worship with a lone guy at the pulpit with an organist backing him up.
But today? Today was the pinnacle of all my sweat and tears (lots and lots of tears). I was hired to change the music from traditional to contemporary. And for the last few years, I'd prayed for a guitarist and a drummer. So I took care of the guitarist part. I learned to play myself. Then finally, I heard about a jr. high kid who was taking trap set lessons. Now, 2 months into his freshman year, he is the backbone beat of our group and I couldn't be more proud of him. And now, a year and a half after I learned to play guitar, I have three guitarists. And I have another trap set player. As Hudson Taylor once said "God's work, done God's way, will never lack God's supply."
And in this one moment, as I stood up there with my guitar (an instrument I always found intimidating, but I learned anyway - and if you ask I'll tell you the story of why I learned how to play) and I was leading this group of musicians, once again I felt the responsibility I'd been entrusted with weaken me a little. But also in the moment did I finally realize that all I'd been envisioning, all my heart and soul, everything I'd wanting for this church to become alive in worship, had finally come to fruitition. The sounds of all the voices - a humble 200 or so - was the sound of worship. A sound that honors God. It was great to hear that sound.
And as we sang It's rising up all around, it's the anthem of the Lord's renown (from Holy is the Lord by Chris Tomlin) I realized this church could rise. That this stubborn church I'd been prodding along all these years might actually let God step in and change things. That they were finally ready for God to do an amazing work with them, and that work starts with worship of him.
Well, I didn't have an angry mob come after me once the service was over with. Nor did I get "Wow, worship was great this morning!" either. What that means, I don't know. But my worry was unnecessary. Because God took care of it. He provided, he blessed, and even allowed us to have some fun.
Here's to many more Sunday morning services like today's.