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Growing Up

June 22, 2009

This post is part of a party hosted by (not the letter “P,” though I can see where you may have assumed that for a minute there) WorshipChicks. Sound intriguing? You want to go here.

Sometimes God’s patience astounds me. Reading through Judges … being forced to meditate on my history of ministry leadership … Certain things just make it really evident, and it’s pretty unreal.

I haven’t been a worship leader for very long. Just a few years. And prior to that, I had no intentions of ever becoming a worship leader. I really can’t sing, so I just never considered it. One day it was handed to me and I took it ’cause there was really no one else – I reasoned – to take it.

Not that I hold – or ever held – worship leaders in low esteem, I was just fairly sure it wasn’t “my thing.” It wasn’t a promotion to me. I wasn’t excited. I was a little nervous, actually, and well aware of the difficult task I was getting myself into.

The boys from my first team practicing to lead worship without me. (2006)

The boys from my first team practicing to lead worship without me. (2006)

My task was complicated by the fact that I do student ministry. I was being asked to form/develop/lead a worship team of jr. high and high school students from basically nothing. They can’t drive. Their schedules are completely at the mercy of their parents. They don’t have nice equipment. They’re just starting music lessons, if they’re taking them at all. They’re less inclined to really see the spiritual implications of everything related to serving on a worship team. And just as they start to get it – they graduate and go away to college.

Right from the get-go it was obvious that God had to show up or we were in trouble. We just didn’t have the equipment or people to create an emotional atmosphere. We didn’t have the skill to pull off a good Christian rock show. Not that any of that is ever the goal, but it helps.

As the new “worship leader,” I knew it was my job to convince Holy Spirit to really, tangibly show up during worship. It was up to me to convince Him. Of course I never really articulated this thought process, but looking back after He corrected me, I’m pretty sure my concept of “worship leader” was, “one who negotiates with Holy Spirit for His presence during worship.”

As though He wasn’t already there. As though He didn’t want to move on people’s hearts during worship. No – I had to convince Him.

Sometimes we seemed to agree, and sometimes not. One week I got desperate, and I decided to fast. Five days. No food. By the evening of the fifth day, as our team was getting ready to get our worship on, I was sure we were about to puts Acts 2 to shame. I mean – I hadn’t eaten for five days! That has to count for something.

It didn’t.


I think worship that evening was the driest it had ever been, and I. was. mad. I was mad. I put on a happy face and got through the evening, but I went home and I was mad.

I don’t doubt God when I’m mad at Him, I just let Him know I’m mad at Him. And I let Him know. This was not fair. I starved for a week for this and … nothing! No-thing. Not a blessed anything. Dead. Deader than a dead, dead something that’s really dead. Why even fast?! Not. fair. And then,

“Lex, you can’t make Me work.”

And then the scales fell from my eyes. God does not owe me any response to my prayers. He doesn’t owe me anything, even when I fast. He’s not a cheap date. I knew that – we all know that – but I also didn’t realize that’s what I was doing.

Neither is it a matter of convincing God to show up. It’s a matter of convincing people to worship. It’s difficult when the music isn’t moving, but it’s not impossible. He is there. Worship is what we do with His presence. I still pray. I still fast. But I pray and I fast for me, for my team, and for the people on the floor. He’s done everything He can do. The rest is up to us.

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