As a full-time worship leader at a church with multiple weekend services, I planned a lot of services, picked a ton of songs, ran a bunch of rehearsals, and led a good amount of singing in 2009. I made plenty of mistakes, learned important lessons, and hopefully grew in my gifting.
Personally, it was an amazing year of preparing to be a father to Megan, and continuing to learn how to be a husband to Catherine. I love my family, love my church, and love my job. There were seasons of trial and testing, but God proves himself faithful and trustworthy time after time.
Looking back on the year, most weekends, song lists, and rehearsals kind of blend together. Certain services stand out, like the one when I was fighting the stomach flu and had to throw my guitar to a vocalist while I ran to the back room to vomit during the Lord’s prayer. (I made it back out just in time for the next song.) Or there’s the time we had someone disrupt a worship service to the point where the police had to handcuff them and lead them out. But over all, it was a year of just seeking to be faithful to God and his church, and trusting that by the work of his Spirit there was slow but steady growth taking place.
The one worship leading experience that stands out the most was when, in April, I was invited by my pastor to join him in leading a Good Friday service at the CIA, organized by a group of faithful Christians there. Obviously, this was not a setting in which I was familiar operating, but I was thrilled to go and grateful for the opportunity.
I remember praying and asking God how I should lead, what songs I should sing, what the response would be, how I should prepare, etc. I heard God say to me, plainly, “point them to the cross”.
So, at a noon Good Friday service in a conference room on the first floor, I sat at a keyboard and led a group of people in singing songs about the cross, and about what God had done for us in Christ. I will never forget it.
While that experience stands out above the rest as I look back over 2009, my job at that service was no different than a typical Saturday night service in June, or a Sunday morning service in October. And as I look forward to 2010, with at least two services per weekend, retreats, and other settings (familiar or not) in which I will be asked to lead, my marching orders are just as plain. To point people to the cross.
One year from now, when I look back on 2010 – at the services, the song lists, the planning, and the rehearsals – most of which will likely blend together, my prayer is that I will able to say that in every five, fifteen, or thirty minute slot I was given, I pointed people to the centrality of the cross, to the glory of God’s grace, and to the risen and exalted Savior.
This is the job of every worship leader – in a small church meeting in someone’s living room, a big church meeting in a large room, or in a Good Friday service in a Langley conference room – to point people to the cross. It’s all about Jesus. Happy New Year.