My husband was a youth pastor for about 24 years and I worked along side him for a lot of it. I spent a good majority of my time working with music. Early on in our ministry it was helping students with the one or two Sunday night services they were put in charge of annually. Later it was working with high school worship bands who led worship weekly for youth group and the one or two Sunday morning services they were put in charge of annually.
I want to go on record that while I enjoy playing (keys and vocals) with most bands, putting them together and “running” them was never my thing – let alone working with students that probably had not mastered their guitars, drums or their vocal chords.
I wish I could tell you that it all went incredibly smoothly and a worshipful and fun time was had by all. It wasn’t.
What I can tell you is that what God calls you to do, He equips you to do. In my case though, I was assuming the equipping part would come easily and naturally. It came instead with bumps, starts and stops, hiccups and lots of bruising, both the ego and physical kind. (You’d be surprised with the number of dented shins and pinched fingers that happen during the set-up and take-down of the average band.)
I really can’t even begin to "guesstimate" what if anything the kids learned from me. But I can tell you that every rehearsal I found myself their student.
More than once, I couldn’t think of one good reason why I didn’t like whatever it was that they were proposing – except that it had never been done like that before. . . which wasn’t a good enough reason at all.
The kids taught me a lot about honesty, perserverance and hope. They taught me to look for the potential instead of just seeing the problem. They taught me that a style of music which incorporated polka, swing and big band can be uplifting and glorifying to God. They taught me to re-think my stand on hymn arrangements of piano and pipe organ. And they tried to teach me joy in the moment – alas, I am a slow learner on this one.
I know that I am better musician because of the kids – but more importantly I would like to think that I am a kinder, gentler, more hopeful Christian because of the kids.