We are out of town and so went to an unfamiliar church yesterday. It was a small church, in a community where it seems like all the churches are small (this one had under 30 adults in attendance, including several other visitors). Throughout the course of the service, I pieced together that the guy on the "percussion keyboard" was the pastor, the Worship Arts Pastor, on guitar and lead vocals, was primarily a high school teacher, and the guy running the soundboard had just gotten off the plane from New Zealand, but his substitute was still struggling enough that he jumped right back in. The music was rounded out by a husband and wife in their 50's or 60's; he played keyboard and had the best voice of the bunch, but the wife's voice was really weak, like maybe she was just recovering from bronchitis or she is really nervous in front of a crowd. There were some awkward solos in our 5 worship songs and a couple of obvious gaffes.
For some reason, though, I was really appreciative of their offering of their talents yesterday. I mean, here are four people who have stepped up despite the fact that they're not getting paid, and I'm pretty sure that they were aware of their inadequacies. But they served with joy and sometimes humor and always sincerity, worshipping their Lord and doing their best to lead others into worship, too.
I'm married to an artsy guy who does some worship leading of his own, so I understand and appreciate the call to excellence when serving the Lord, not only here but in every area of life. I myself appreciate the gift of well-rehearsed, professionally-trained musicians and the blessing that their ministry can be to the church. But what about the guy who hasn't touched a guitar in 5 years or sang publicly in even longer, but he's the only one with a semblance of musical capacity to lead music for your group. He's well-aware of his inadequacies and he wants to serve well as to not have his lack of practice be a distraction from worship, but he's got a several jobs, a toddler and a newborn, and the only time he can practice is after everyone's in bed, until the newborn wakes up and he has to relieve his wife so she can survive the day alone tomorrow? That happens to be my husband's story from last fall when he ended up doing music for our church's youth group.
Maybe that's why I appreciated our musicians yesterday. You know what? It takes a lot of humility to step up and serve musically when you know you're going to be missing notes with both your guitar and your voice. If I'm a terrible volunteer in the nursery, nobody but a few toddlers is going to notice; few places showcase our shortcomings like a stage with a microphone. But the call to serve ("If I don't do it, then nobody will") overcomes your pride. I can't help but wonder if those missed notes are some of the most beautiful in our Lord's ears.