During my very first job as a music teacher/worship leader at a Christian school and church 16 years ago, I was sometimes stressed out when a new experience was put before me.
There were many things that I had never done before: lead worship from a piano with a band, write out music for instruments, write songs for the youth that would help them connect to God in worship… and during this first “real” season of my life is when I recorded and released my first cd.
Through that amazing time of growth, one of my mentors, Ken Reynolds, would always encourage me with something HIS mentor, Gary J. Blanchard would tell him…
Whenever you’re faced with something new, simply say “Well, I’ve never done that before!”, and go for it!
We would often laugh and say that to each other during that season, as a lot of transition happened in our church, and we were often called upon to step out of our comfort zones!
I am so grateful that through the various seasons of my life, I’ve had incredible people encouraging me to face the new challenges with my gifts and talents in one hand, and the power of the Holy Spirit in the other.
Here’s the deal: my heart is creating space where KIDS can lead KIDS in worship.
I think there’s something powerful about adults stepping out of the way and letting the kids’ voices be heard.
Now, there aren’t a lot of resources out there for how to let KIDS lead. There aren’t many schools that teach how to chord on a piano, how to recognize chord patterns, how to play band or orchestra instruments with worship (using the limited notes that beginners know), how kids can hear the Holy Spirit when you are painting and drawing, how kids need to live lives of worship and not just sing or play pretty… and songwriting courses for kids are not usually something that parents have an option of signing their kids up for.
So, my heart for this was to start something new, building on things Leo and I had done in the past.
But this was totally new.
And it would take a team of creatives who “got it”.
This past Worship Club (#9!) was no exception.
We had around 75 kids- 2nd to 8th grade. 17 teachers and 10 helpers for the 7 classes we were offering.
Our band and orchestra class alone was a challenge: there’s a reason that violins and trumpets usually don’t play together… there are completely different notes that the kids learn on their specific instruments when they start out, let alone that they really only know a few notes!
So, either the string section would be struggling with the specific key, or the horn/woodwind section. Last year, I had incredibly talented people teach each group separately and the strings played on 2 songs, and the band played on 2 others.
This year, those teachers weren’t available, so it fell onto me… to teach them combined. 5 violins and a viola (who didn’t know how to read alto staff), 3 trumpets, 2 saxophones, 2 clarinets and 3 flutes.
It was a huge undertaking…
I’d never done this before!
In addition to my class, we had singing, dance, keyboards, media arts, guitar and percussion. As the Lord brought the various teachers we needed to pour into the kids, He fulfilled deep desires of my heart:
Every class had at least one minority teacher. Some classes were even taught by gifted high-school students.
This was the nations worshipping together, in many different expressions of worship!
The 3rd week of the club, there was an incredible moment after our devotions.
I got up on our little stage in front of the group to practice with them as they ate their snacks. The kids joyously sang, danced or beat on the tables as we sang “You are Good”, and “The Good Life”.
Then, as we started into the 3rd song of the set, “Good, Good Father”, the kids really “entered in”. Hands were raised and eyes were closed as they sang their hearts out to their Father.
Instead of singing the 3rd verse (which is, in my opinion, a little hard for little minds to understand), I felt led to have people say “You’re a Good Father” in whichever language they wanted.
Around the room, like popcorn, teachers and students alike spoke… French, Spanish, Tamil, Swahili, Kukuyu… it was absolutely beautiful! I started tearing up in front of them, as my heart filled up with many emotions all at once! Then, we started back into the chorus… “You’re a good, good Father… it’s who You are… and I am loved by You, it’s who I am….”.
Kids singing in full force, completely swept up in their Father’s love.
At that point, I don’t think a single teacher had a dry eye, and my face and neck were noticeably wet from my tears. I had no voice to sing with as I was completely choked up, but it wasn’t needed because the kids just continued to sing those phrases over and over while I played my guitar.
This is why we step into un-chartered territory.
The long nights, the stressing over computer/music-writing software issues, the juggling demands of The Club with the rest of our lives and work, the “can we try this instead”‘s, the “I’ve never done this before”‘s that we uttered many times over the 5 weeks…
We do it to raise up THIS generation’s worshippers who aren’t afraid to try something new; because in taking a risk, they learn how to lead worship with their gifts and talents in one hand, and the power of the Holy Spirit in the other.