When I was 16, I felt God stirring my heart towards worship ministry as a vocation. Fast forward 6 years and I’m at Azusa Pacific University getting ready to finish my education. It had been 6 years of fumbling forward in pursuit of what I felt God calling me to. Six years of leading worship in every venue I could find. Youth groups, college groups, camps, adult Bible studies (with 7 people in the room), Sunday night church (remember Sunday night services?). Six years of piano lessons, voice lessons, guitar lessons. Six years worth of mistakes and embarrassments as I learned how to lead worship — and how not to lead worship. I had pursued God and what I felt he was calling me in the best way I knew how.
That’s where I was 6 years in. About to graduate and on the very edge of entering ministry — the thing I had been dreaming of and pursuing. However, it was in this season, at this time, that I was also caught in a behavior that God was trying to correct. Sin had crept in. It’s important you know everything I mentioned above as context for the way I felt as God was pursuing me on this issue. I felt unworthy. I felt guilty. Embarrassed. Ashamed.
This is one of my favorite stories to share and definitely a top 3 most embarrassing worship leading moment — of which there are plenty!
A number of years back scientists found what they said was another planet beyond Pluto; ironically, neither of these orbiting bodies are planets anymore. However, back then they were both planets. I remember being so amazed at our Creator. There’s so much that we don’t know about our universe, yet God knows it all.
One Sunday I was leading my community in worship and began to encourage them that God is so much bigger than we know, using this example. Before I could get all the words out I was cut off by someone in our congregation. He said, “STOP IT! STOP IT! We’re trying to worship God and you’re talking to us about a planet.” Mind you, he cut me off before I could get to the punchline.
I have a confession to make. Maybe I shouldn’t do it, but I will. I don’t suppose it’s too jaw-dropping. In fact, if you are a worship leader you’ve probably done this same thing. Are you ready?
There have been people, in every congregation I have served in, that I avoid looking at while I’m leading worship.