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.
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.