Friday, October 19, 2007

Uncharted Territory

I think for the first time in my life I don't know what to do. I'm serious...I have no clue.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Emptiness and the Dryness of it All

Sunday night was a Godsend for me. I was able to lead worship at an event called OneChurch. OneChurch is several youth groups from around the city of Grand Rapids coming together to worship and hear some teaching. It's about tearing down walls that we've put up around us by denominations and congregations. It's about realizing we are all a part of one body.

As most of you know, I've been leading worship for years. I remember first really leading back in the Thumb of Michigan for YFC events (Loft, Bridgebuilders). I look on those days with fondness. 50-60 kids in the upstairs of a tractor store with old furniture, carpet pieces duct taped to the floor, and the lights dim as we sang to God. I've led worship in small churches and bigger churches. I've led at colleges. I've led in youth groups. I've led on mission trips. I've led in my living room. For the past three years, however, I've actually gotten paid to lead worship, and it is during this time that I've struggled the most with not having people around me who are passionate about pouring their hearts out before God. Many times I long to be around people who get it...where it doesn't have to be a chore to bring people into God's presence...where people are expecting God to move and to inhabit their praises. Yes, it's been a very dry time in my life. My relationship with God is strong...I pray more than I ever have, and out of those prayers and times of study, some great songs have come. But, I feel that many times my desire to dream is gone. I used to dream big about ministry...about what it could look like to be the Church...about what it could look like to not be hindered by the politics and personalities that are so prevalent in church. And now I feel rather empty...and dry and worn and beaten and in need of some healing and hope and rejuvenation. Sunday night helped a little bit.

So, Sunday night was a Godsend. Here were somewhere around 200 high school students singing their hearts out. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I didn't have to do much leading...I could simply worship. We shot the worship set with a camera off to the side and pulled audio from the tape and from the built-in microphone on my mac, and I've sat here all week listening to it and many times I am moved to tears as I hear the students lift their voices and their hearts to God. I am so longing to have this kind of passion around me...this kind of willingness to abandon self in order to follow God. I'll end this by making clear that worship is not about us...it's about giving God what he deserves...it just so happens that when we pour ourselves out before him, it leaves space in us for him to move and to fill. And so it makes sense that when we give, we receive...when we are empty, we're full.