Thursday, August 09, 2007

the tale of the weak-kneed worship leader

long ago in a place not so very far away, Greg was hired to pastor a small church. It was so small that it didn't have a worship leader and the worship team kind of needed one. Responding to that need, my husband and the elders got together and prayed.

God told them, apparently, that I was supposed to be the worship leader. At least until someone better came along.

I protested that God hadn't told me any such thing, but they didn't listen.

Now I can sing and play guitar, but I'm pretty mediocre at best. And when I stand in front of a microphone, my vocal chords shut down and my fingers become dyslexic.

Unfortunately, being a worship leader involved direct contact with a microphone. And, it involved leading a team of very independent--dare I say cocky?-- musicians who were all much more talented than me.

And they knew it.

Two of them, bless their hearts, offered me encouragement and tried to follow my lead. The other two either ignored me or were outright cantankerous. I came home from our first worship practice together with what little confidence I had smashed to smithereens.

When Sunday morning arrived, I drove to church with a sense of impending doom. I knew that I would embarass myself, the worship team, my husband . . . and most of all, God. How could I call my pitiful offering worship?

I was having a meltdown in Greg's office when Todd walked in. He asked how I was doing.

"I can't do this," I sniffed. "I'm not good enough. Being in front of people terrifies me."

"Believe it or not, I know how you feel," he assured me. "I am dyslexic and have alwyas struggled with learning disabilities. 'Stupid' and 'loser' were terms I heard frequently as a kid."

"Really?" I responded, surprised to hear this. From what I could see, Todd was a successful businessman with a really nice house and a cool family.

"Yep," he said. "I learned long ago not to rely on my own abilities--which really don't amount to a hill of beans--and rely on God's strength. One of my favorite verses is Philippians 4:13--I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. If God has asked you to do this, He will help you. Trust me, I know."

Todd prayed--speaking that verse over me--and I was strangely comforted. Still terrified, but willing to walk out on that stage and just worship the Lord with all my heart. I didn't care quite as much if my voice squeaked or I played the wrong chord. I was doing this out of obedience, for His glory, so the results were up to HIm.

And guess what? After the intro to the first song, I shut my eyes and worshiped with all my heart. And when I finally looked out at the congregation, I was shocked to see that they were worshiping, too. My voice was surprisingly strong and steady and I actually played all the right chords. Most of them, anyway. I felt His peace and pleasure as I offered everything up to Him. And I think the whole church felt His presence, too.

There was not doubt in my mind that something supernatural had taken place. And God met me every Sunday, anointing me to sing and play way beyond my natural ability. And He allowed me the great privilege of leading others into His presence. It was so awesome to actually experience the power of God working through my weakness.

The Lord eventually raised up another worship leader and I stepped aside with great relief. But I still look back on those days with a bit of wonder.

"I will glory in my weakness, for then the power of Christ rests on me . . ."