Tonight marks a bit of a milestone for me. Our worship pastor is out of town on a much deserved vacation and asked me to lead worship for the six o’clock service tonight. Years ago, there was a time where I led worship on a weekly basis, but now I get to stand in the back row and play my bass guitar without having to be in charge. Tonight will be the first time I have led a worship service at Pleasant Garden.
It’s a good service to break back into it. The Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s is often an “off” Sunday for the church. Attendance is usually low as many people are traveling or recovering from the hectic Christmas season. Sunday nights have a lower attendance on any given Sunday and on top of all that, it’s a rainy day here which may keep even some of the stalwarts away. But that doesn’t bother me – I see this opportunity as a blessing and honor from God.
I realize now how little I knew about leading worship back when I used to lead worship at our old church. I was making it up as I went along and often didn’t have the right motives. Because of my inexperience, it wasn’t as much of a blessing as it could have been (to put it lightly.) As I led week after week, it started becoming more and more of a burden and an obligation. It’s a topic for another day how God worked things so that my family and me were called to leave that church and search for another.
God used that time between churches to teach me some valuable lessons. The more I served in my previous church, the more important I thought I was in God’s eyes. If I had been honest with myself, I would have realized that I saw myself as one of God’s favorite Christians and I would have thought He really needed me on His team and was proud to have me there. As I went from serving hard each week to simply attending and sitting in a pew, I realized that God’s work went on just fine (and in many cases, even better) without me. It was a lesson I desperately needed, and I’m thankful that God was gentle in the way He taught it to me.
So when I step forward to lead the first song tonight, it won’t be as the person who believes that God is lucky to have him there. It will be as one who understands what a blessing it is to be able to play a small part in the amazing work that God is doing! It is fitting that we will be installing new Deacons tonight. When I was ordained as a Deacon last year, I felt that it was God’s way of saying, “Now that you have the right attitude and mindset, it’s time to get back to work.” Tonight is another restorative step in that process. And one of the major themes in tonight’s worship set will be humility. I will most likely only lead worship a few times in 2015, and that’s fine with me – I just want to do the best I can for Him each time He gives me the opportunity.
On a lighter note, the thing that I’m worried about tonight is that I decided to play acoustic guitar instead of bass guitar, which I’m much more comfortable with. I am not an acoustic guitar player, really, but I will have Christina playing keys and my wife Jeana playing piano to kind of carry me through. It’s nice to have such talented family members and to be able to lean on them to help get me through!