I have recently been blessed to be able to assist with worship leading at a local church in my community. The way we were even introduced to each other was really a God-thing. It was through a mutual friend and something I was definitely NOT looking for. When I first met with the pastor and his wife and heard about their needs, I could easily see where I might be able to help them. With my role at Worship Team Training, I thought for sure I could just come alongside them, assess the situation with their music program and advise them on some possible solutions and continue on with my journey…Right!
Then the pastor, who has no problem being direct and to the point (totally my way to communicate, saves on words and no second guessing), asked me if I would be willing to come be a part of their team there by leading their music ministry. I laughed; that was so funny to me. I was actually looking for a job to try and support my music ministry, but I was not looking for a Worship Leader position. It would tie me down too much and inhibit my ability to travel with the ministry work I had planned. I told the pastor I needed flexibility with my music ministry and traveling, that’s why a worship lead position wouldn’t work for me. The pastor didn’t balk. He said he said he had nothing BUT flexibility and would be willing to support my music ministry and travel schedule. What? I laughed some more and said, “I don’t want to hear you say that you are flexible. Thank you.”
Seriously, what was God thinking? He knew that my need for flexibility would be my only concern in considering something like this. I was fairly content with where I was at with another church in my community. It’s obvious to me that the pastor and God must have had some kind of conversation before we even met in person. I really did ask God in my mind, at that moment there in Starbucks (with the pastor and his wife across the table from me), “Uh, what are you doing here, God? This wasn’t what I was envisioning. Care to fill me in?” I literally was speechless. So I did the next best thing. Yes, I could consult!
I settled with the pastor and his wife that I would come visit their church after returning from my grandfather’s Memorial in Atlanta to assess their needs to see what I could do to help. And I did just that. Let me tell you how much I wanted to get out of my seat that Sunday and go up there and help the pastor’s sweet 14 year-old daughter, who was bravely leading worship all by herself (with her Dad singing). I REALLY wanted to help! I know God was so blessed by what they were doing to help lead the congregation out of the pureness and genuineness of their hearts. I wanted to be a part of that kind of heart. I looked around and looked at the members of the church. Could I leave the current church where I was at and start all over again? I answered in my heart with a resounding, “Yes!” I could sense His heart and what He was calling me to do for this church. I knew He had equipped me with all the skills I needed. I needed to go and follow in obedience.
A big challenge has been set before me (literally right into my lap). But God knows what He is doing, and I know He can do it. He will lead me. And I know I am up for the challenge. I led for my first time with the church, last Sunday. It’s not easy jumping into something that you are unfamiliar with and I am sure the congregation might have felt the same way, not knowing what I might bring to their church. We both had to trust that we were concerned about the same things without knowing each other yet. It takes a lot of hard work to ease into something to make sure everyone feels safe about where you are going.
The big picture for me was that I could go out of my comfort zone for something difficult, instead of making my life comfortable sitting in a chair in the back of a church (well, not all the way in the back, but close enough). My eyes are wide open as I go into this, but they will be half-closed as I look beyond the challenges and trust in God’s goodness to provide for every need as I follow His leading. God sees us for who we are in Him and He is not content to leave us where we are at, but to continue to grow and shape us into His image. The image that we were created in to begin with.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 (ESV)
I am choosing to love and embrace what is difficult, because there are greater rewards ahead than this earth can ever give us, and I know my life is not my own (even though I still battle with my own selfish desires). After all, didn’t God choose to love me and embrace me in my “difficultness”?