I lead worship most Sundays. And most Sundays my band and I look out at a small group of somewhat awkward, glossy-eyed sixth-graders. Okay, I admit it… sometimes they’re painfully awkward. Students often meet our music with blank stares and slumped shoulders. It seems on Sundays our students are way more interested to open their mouths for the next bite of pizza than to open their mouths to sing. It’s something my band and I have had to learn to take in stride.
It’s far from sexy. In fact, it’s a ministry that goes relatively unnoticed. There are Sundays where I wonder whether the work I’m putting in is worth the impact I’m making. And in the midst of a modern worship culture that’s constantly clamoring for a bigger stage, brighter lights, and an ever-widening web of people to influence and lead, my band and I are fighting to believe that God is present and working in our humble little room, on our humble little stage, within our humble little students.
In the thick of it all, some of my bandmates and I have adopted a phrase – There’s no place we’d rather be.
Don’t get me wrong. Of course there are times when we would love to play on a big stage, in front of big(ger) people. We certainly wouldn’t mind better equipment, a big budget, and a flashy environment to lead in. Of course we’d love to lead people who sing loudly, expressively, and passionately.
But the passionate, Spirit-filled worshipers of tomorrow are awkward sixth-graders today.
And I am privileged to lead those sixth-graders. I am privileged to look out at a group of worshipers whose potential for the Kingdom of God is unburdened by the cares and difficulties of adulthood. In fact, Jesus tells us that these young ones are blessed, because the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs (Luke 18:15-16). They receive the Kingdom of God into their hearts in a way that God delights in – with the humble faith of a child (Luke 18:17). These young ones have their entire lives in front of them – lives that we pray will be entirely spent on Jesus.
They may feel awkward in worship, for now. But my band and I are privileged to teach them what expressive, passionate, Spirit-filled worship looks like. And one day, by God’s grace, I believe many of them will worship without abandon. The thought of it fills me with hope, and joy, and the overwhelming feeling that what my band and I do matters. I love the ministry that God has entrusted to us. It’s precious in His eyes, and it is enough for us. What I mean by enough is that our work is valuable to God, and so we can find contentment, peace, and purpose in it. He could have called us to lead thousands, but He has called us right here, right now – to a small room in a forgotten corner of the church that smells like sweaty kids.
And so we labor on with joy.
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
– Psalm 145: 3-4 (ESV)
God has entrusted to us the task of declaring His greatness to the next generation. And so we fix our eyes on the little image-bearers before us. We are called to be faithful in selflessly serving these young ones. Our awkward, pizza-wielding kids. Our eternal-souled, brimming-with-potential kids. May Jesus break our hearts for them to know Him in our tiny room, in our forgotten little corner of the church. We know that He is with us there, powerfully working.
There’s no place we’d rather be.