This is the final part of my discovery of worship.
Back From Camp
I left off in the last post with me coming back from the camping trip and something was different. And something certainly was. The youth pastor had given me one of the binders and I took it home and poured over the songs. I had rarely sung in front of anyone, including my family, but now I just didn’t care, these songs were coming from my heart not my mouth and I wasn’t about to veer my heart from it’s joy. What I had found in these worship songs was what I had been missing all along, a real connection with God. Some people have it in nature, some have it in works, some have it in prayer, some have it in The Word, some have it in fellowship, some have it in the quiet, and I have it in music.
The following weeks were filled with learning and singing and discovering songs that would speak my heart to my Lord. I started listening to worship music exclusively, spending time on Spotify looking up bands like Hillsong United, New Life Worship, Kristian Stanfill and others. Every new song I found was another way for me to give God the praise he deserves. I was a changed person.
A few months later things changed again.
Our youth worship team was basically disbanding as half the people were going to college or moving out of state. I had only ever played on the team once before, and only as an acoustic guitarist, so it wasn’t something I ever thought I’d be involved with at any sort of a deep level, but up comes the pastor and he asks me if I want to lead worship since he knew I could sing and play from the camping trip. Well with much anxiousness I accepted and entered into the world of worship leading.
Now I wasn’t completely alone in my endeavor. The pastor had created 4 teams that were to rotate each week, and each team had a different combination of musicians/singers. Most people were on two teams in different capacities, I was leading one, and playing electric guitar for another (if my memory is correct). This helped to ease the new people into playing and I certainly felt better only having to lead once a month.
Anyways the time came for me to lead, and I did. With a hurricane of butterflies (in my stomach) I ascended the stage, took my position, setup my equipment, looked around at the smiling faces, and started rehearsal. I’ll be honest, I never led anyone before, in anything, ever. I was more of a lone wolf type, silently thinking I could be leading but never having the motivation to try.
Despite my anxiety we started, and it was incredible. Now, instead of just singing praises to God myself, I was leading a whole band in giving him praise! The feeling of being in a group dedicated to worship was amazing, and leading it was something else.
Time To Lead
Eventually the time came to play for the rest of the youth-group. I had thought I was anxious before, but now I was practically giddy with nervousness. I remember I kept on telling my fellow band members just how bad we were going to be, and then laughing hysterically. Once again, despite it all, I took to the stage.
Things were different than rehearsal.
I had a group of around 30 youth staring up at me to start music, and lead them into worshipping the one true God. Whoa. THAT was something I had never expected to be doing. If someone told me when I was 15 that I would be playing music, singing, and leading a band and 30 others into worship of the Lord.. well I’d of thought them quite ridiculous, yet there I was.. and it felt right.
See it wasn’t about the music, it was much more than that. On the stage I was given an opportunity to show my love for God in a tangible way, and on top of that, I got to lead others to understand and give their own love and praise to him. I was on that stage singing.. but really I was on that stage loving. God had long ago planted a desire in my heart to see others love him the way he deserves, and now he was giving me the way to do that.
After the music ended and the service was over I knew I wanted to lead worship as long as someone would let me. All the anxiety, the fear, the lack of knowledge, the naivety, all of it.. couldn’t compare to how right it felt in leading others to give their hearts to God and to shout out his praise. Looking back, I know without a shadow of a doubt that it was God that dragged me into music, dragged me into worship, dragged me into leading, and when I finally got there.. opened my eyes to what he designed me to do. It was all him, all along.
So now I sing. Not because I’m good at it, not because I like it, not because of any aspirations of fame or recognition.. but because I love my Father and desperately want others to feel the same. You see worship isn’t about the music, it isn’t about the lyrics. It isn’t about the lighting, or the place. It isn’t about hands lifted in the air or about singing at the top of your voice. It isn’t about the stage or the instruments. It isn’t about kneeling, bowing, standing, or jumping. Worship isn’t about being joyful, and it isn’t about being solemn. It isn’t about chanting, and it isn’t about free expression.
Worship is about your love for God. If you don’t love him. Don’t sing.
I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my HEART; I will glorify your name forever. Psalm 86:12