What happens when a third of your church wants to join the worship team? At first, the worship director or coordinator (or whatever name you give them) feels overwhelmed and prays A LOT! At least that was my experience three weeks ago.
Our church, Hope for the Nations, here in Antipolo, Philippines, is about to turn 3 years (Feb 26). When you plant a church, you start everything from the ground up. For us that was very literal in many ways, including the church building, which is still being completed piece by piece as we gain funds. This means a lot of discipleship and teaching people the very basics of the Bible, the foundations of our faith, and how to faithfully serve God and others. These tasks aren't for the faint of heart, but for those truly desiring to serve God and others by growing the body of Christ by doing life with people in the tough times and victories alike.
This past year we've added a lot of structure to our programs and ways of doing things, such as the worship team. Establishing a Kingdom culture (the Kingdom of God) in our church and amongst our people is very important to us. Like we pray every Sunday, "...Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." So, we've taken those Kingdom principals like faithfulness (shown through being on time and consistent), honesty (sharing the truth in love, not gossiping), discipline (correcting and rebuking in righteousness), and have applied them to our teams. With a set time every week for devotions, followed by practice, we've developed a rhythm as a team. We even just put into place a code of conduct for this year that clearly details our pledge to God, the church, ourselves, and others as worship team members.
I was finally beginning to feel like I was just starting to reap the benefits of all of the hard work of discipling and building a worship team. Those feelings barely settled in before I was presented with another challenge, to add to the worship team. I would have a meeting where we would invite whoever was interested to join the worship team and then take them through a process of training and discipleship as they transition onto the team. Not again! I thought I had just done that and now it was time again, so soon, and with those who spoke less English and were even less discipled than those before.
I took a step of faith, trusting God that he would give me the things I needed to know to lead this next group. So I had our worship team inquiry meeting after church and 30 people showed up, all under the age of 25 and more than half under the age of 18. I was shocked! My heart was probably even palpitating. How was I going to lead 30 people on a worship team, and most of them kids?! I told them how strict I was and that they needed to follow the rules and how worship was not a show or a chance for fame. Even then all 30, maybe even a few extra, showed up the next Sunday for devotions. I was used to the small group of 5 that we had had for the past 9 months, now there was 6 times as many.
I went into a time of much prayer over that next week and even told my prayer partner on Thursday about the huge obstacle I was facing. To my surprise, she was excited. She said, "how many churches can say that a third of their church wants to be a part of the worship team?". She also mentioned how it showed their heart for worship. She even encouraged me to write about this and share it with others (this is because of you Evangeline). It gave me a new perspective on the situation. Yes, there were probably some people who joined with the wrong motive, but the fact that they had a desire to serve on the worship team says something about their hearts.
I know that over time the group will get smaller as people's hearts are revealed and faithfulness is tested and proven, but this powerful message prevails. God created us for worship and I believe that that longing is deep within us all. So how can we cultivate that longing in people for the glory of God? How can we help people see that that desire is natural and is to be used to worship God? How, through it all, can we help people experience the power and majesty of God on earth as it is in heaven?
Pray for us as we train these young people spiritually, in discipline, and musically! May the fruit of our faithfulness and trust in God be great and abundant.