Figuring It Out…

When Kristen and I were newly married and childless, we were very involved in the youth ministry at our church.

Some of our most favorite worship moments came out of that church. The people were great, the ministry was growing and we learned a lot.

Especially me.

God, in His grace, challenged me and stretched me to think Biblically about the work I was doing…

One Wednesday morning, I got a call from the youth pastor. Instead of the normal Wednesday night fun/hangout program, he wanted to devote the night to prayer. Normally, there was no music on Wednesdays, but he asked if I could come do some “acoustic worship” as the kids prayed. Naturally, I said “YES!”

I got home after work and started planning out some songs. Suddenly, I remembered an interesting tune I had heard on a SongDISCovery CD a week earlier. It was a sprawling, drum-loop, studio song called “Here I Am To Worship” by a guy named Tim Hughes. I didn’t know the artists and I had no idea if the song would work with just a guitar. (If you’ve lead worship very long, you know that song ALWAYS works on an acoustic guitar!)

But the song was so new and so different melodically, I was a bit cautious. That night, I led worship and that song was a pivotal moment in the service. People immediately caught on and outsang both me AND the guitar! It was a powerful moment.

And a dangerous one.

You see, over time, that song and experience (as well as others) built something wrong in me. I started thinking that the “gift” of worship leading was being able to naturally hear songs that would be hits. Certainly, that’s a gift that some of us have, but I thought that’s all there was to worship. To live my life like a critic for Rolling Stone magazine…my job was simply to operate like a trend-hunter.

Over time, God, in His mercy, showed me that I was gifted. But I was also called. And I was called to do more than just hunt for hits. I was called to find songs that were more than just memorable – I was called to find songs that were true and God-centered and instructive.

I’m still called to that.

And so are you.

So, the next time we sit down to pick a songlist, let’s worry less about pleasing ears and more on girding up hearts and minds.

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