Last night I got to watch my son play guitar in a band that was leading worship for about 1,000 people – mostly teenagers.
But what struck me the most wasn’t his talent. And it wasn’t the deafening roar of the crowd responding to the band. It also was not the fact that teenage girls were asking for his autograph.
What struck me the most were the times he pulled back. The times when he stepped up to the mic, sang a few words of a line, and backed up as the lead singers continued. The times he took his hands off his guitar and raised them in worship.
My son’s been playing guitar for about 7 years. He started playing in his church’s worship band around 5 years ago. Recently he’s assumed the role of Worship Leader for the youth group.
Just after high school, someone asked him what he wanted to do. He said he wants to be a worship leader. Someone said, “you already are a worship leader. You just want to get paid for it; have it be your job.”
This summer he’s part of the band leading worship at a beach camp operated by our state’s Baptist convention. The Baptist convention also organizes the band, and the drama teams. Over the years, I have heard people say they don’t like “denominational politics.” I am not even sure I have enough knowledge of the subject of denominational politics to form an opinion. But what I saw this weekend – all operated by our state’s denomination – was well-organized and pointed to Jesus.
My son loves to play (with) his guitar. He’s loved music since he was a baby and from the first time he had a guitar in his hands, he couldn’t keep his hands off of it. When he wasn’t learning how to play, he was fiddling with the strings or just tapping it.
Over the years, we’ve heard noise from that guitar at inappropriate times.
“Be quiet. We’re trying to sleep.” Guitar.
The Pastor is praying. Guitar.
The Pastor is preaching. Guitar.
The sound booth asks all musicians to be silent while they check the mic of a singer. Guitar.
The worship leader actually asked him to stop once. I don’t think he did.
He strummed unconsciously. And even strummed air guitar when his guitar wasn’t in his hands.
So last night, I saw him consciously and deliberately pull back and worship. And I saw growth. I saw a teachable spirit. And I saw someone willing to give up – even for a brief moment – what he loves – for Jesus.
And later that evening, one of the people serving with him said, “I love serving with your son. Matt has defined passion for me.”
What does this have to do about progress? And processes?
Tomorrow morning people will walk into your church for the first time. Some will have preconceived notions of what church is – organized religion, denominational politics.
What will you do to show them that you’re different?
How will you teach them? How will you tell your story? And His story?
How will you move them from the “I want,” to the “you are?”
What will you give up – even for a brief second – to help someone see Jesus?