Friday, May 30, 2008

Young Leaders

One of the advantages of being a theology student are the invitations that come in to help the odd church here and there with their services, on a kind of supply/locum type basis. This means that I am constantly being exposed to different churches and the way they go about things. This is not just educating, but also enriching and rewarding. The minutiae of difference in procedure between us all is dull, and irrelevant. Occasionally however, I come across something which differs from my expectations, and is quite wonderful.

Such an event happened on Sunday morning. I had been invited to come and speak in a local church, and to fit my remarks into a series they were doing on the Exodus narrative, focusing on the sins of pride and envy as demonstrated in the lives of Aaron and Miriam in Numbers 12. So I wrote and then delivered a message about these sins and compared them with understanding and responding to God's grace. This, however was unremarkable.

What was unusual, noteworthy and refreshing was the musical input in the service. At this church the young people have formed a band, and have clearly practiced hard. Apparently a few weeks ago they asked the church leaders if they could lead the worship. To their credit the leaders said yes but gave them some guidance on doing it. Before I came to speak, these young people had read the text, looked at the meaning, chosen relevant songs, prayed together, and rehearsed. Last month they had also been to a training event on worship-leading, and spoke about how they were putting into practice what they had learnt there, including sensitivity towards those with different musical tastes (ie. old folk!). It was a privilege to be lead by them.

The reason that church had so many young people worshipping with them is not just that they liked the musical style and were not alienated by the antiquarianism that is the church's stock-in-trade. What made them feel at home there was 'ownership'. They wanted to have a part in forming the worship, not just participating in a prescribed formula. What was wonderful was not just that they did it so well, but that they were mature enough to listen to advice and do it so wisely.

It was quite overwhelming.


Endlessly restless said...

Sounds amazing!

And all of the comments in your final paragraph could apply to the oldies as well (self included!)

lynn said...

What an encouraging post, THM. I too was at said worship leading event and it's great to hear that these guys went back and had a chance to input into their worshipping community.

I love good news on the blogosphere :-)

Lins Honeyman said...

Wise heads on young shoulders. Good to hear.