Back from the trenches…
The reports of this group being a hard crowd appear to have been exaggerated.
Well, maybe not really. It’s a large group, and due to our church’s bus ministry, many of them are totally unchurched, and don’t know what’s… acceptable, or expected. They don’t know the boundaries, and that makes for a lot of chaos.
Maybe, though, I did surprise them: I was not the usual worship leader, and there was kids their own age on the stage, too. But, as I talked it over with Nancy (the pastor’s wife; she’s very involved in the children’s ministry, though she’s not the children’s pastor), I said, “If it just happens that they were all participating because I’m new, well, let’s just run with that.”
She agreed. She told me what had come to her mind as she was praying for me, and I think it’s particularly apt: When she was a newlywed, she was not, as she called it, “Susie Homemaker.” “I had had no interest in that, and at home, had let my sister do all of that. Yet, here I was, married, expected to keep house, make dinner, and everything. We were invited over to a get-together with Dennis’ family, all down-home farming folk, you know, been cooking and baking from the womb. I decided to make a pie. I’d never made one before, but I pulled out a cookbook, followed the directions, and made a pie.” It turned out to be a great pie, and all of her in-laws were shocked. Pies, after all, were hard, and everyone knew Nancy couldn’t cook. The thing was, Nancy didn’t know piemaking was supposed to be difficult.
I have heard sad and scary stories of tough, hard kids, who are very unresponsive to worship, who don’t understand its relevance, who won’t participate, who stay on the edges, etc. The regular worship leader, as well as Nancy, and Heidie (the children’s pastor) had tried to prepare me for the Deep Pit of children’s worship. But, after a while, though I completely respect their experiences, I asked for no more stories. It’s not like I want to re-discover the wheel, when it’s already in common use; I don’t want to discount what they’ve already tried, and ignore what works, and what doesn’t. But, on the other hand, I didn’t want to go into it, bracing for the worst. And just because something didn’t work (or did) for someone else, doesn’t mean that it’s a sure flop (or a sure thing) if I do it.
Fact is, I enjoy worship. When it’s good and right, there is absolutely no other place I’d rather be, and nothing else I’d rather be doing. I feel confident that if I can reach that place with the kids, we won’t need to cajole or convince; they’ll want to come along.
So, I have hope. I have high expectations. I am optimistic about the success of me leading — not because I’m so fantastic (I’m not), but because God is good, and worthy of worship. I so enjoy worshiping, and I think that draws kids in to participation. And while my success at leading adults has been… hit-or-miss, I am very comfortable leading the kids in my church.
Maybe it’s just a confluence of the right situation at the right time with the right people (not just myself)… Maybe God heard our prayers and pleadings. Maybe He just wanted to encourage us. Whatever the case, worship did go really well yesterday. Most all of the kids entered into worship, sang, participated…
The folks in charge thought it went well. Very importantly, the kids I asked thought it went well, even my own. I was afraid my 10yo would think that it was weird to have his mom up there, but he said that it was great, and he didn’t feel weird about it at all.
I’m looking forward to next week.
* The website appears to be messed up — it’s teensy-tiny. But, click on the green CD on the right, then click on the song title in the list. I can’t link directly to it, because it’s a Flash site.