Our first practice was a couple of musicians smashed into a corner of our children’s area while our warehouse was under demolition. As we straddled 5 gallon buckets of paint and boxes of tools, I played the keys on a $120 keyboard that I had inherited from my father-in-law and our worship leader strummed on his acoustic. We sang our hearts out while two guys from our church stained the concrete a few feet away. They paused occasionally and then came and worshipped with us when they finished.
As with every church, our music at Thrive has dramatically changed. We went from one guy on a guitar and a couple of vocalists- to a full band within two years. We’ve gone from singing simple choruses to original songs to intricate worship songs. We were a tight knit group for a while, but as our church has grown, we’ve been blessed with more and more people willing to join our team and our ministry.
Although I’ve been involved in many worship ministries over the years, I’ve learned one lesson more consistently here at Thrive, than anywhere else. When I become comfortable, God moves to change. He changes our views on Him, changes our songs, and changes our team. But through all those changes, good comes and health approaches. Change helps us to focus our attention, to evaluate our own intentions in worship and helps us to prune away our selfishness, pride and egos. When I become upset at something that irritates me, I take a moment and step back to try and see it from God’s perspective. Is the enemy preying on my emotions? Am I allowing my own agenda to sway my view on things? Am I allowing God to move and make shifts in our perspectives?
When I move my emotions aside and allow God to work, amazing things happen. The team grows closer but opens their arms to new people joining. Hearts and minds are shaped after God’s heart. And the church begins to change as well. They begin to lift their hands, not afraid of being judged or of being showy. They close their eyes and listen to the worship around them. Emotions cross their faces and their hearts are barren for anyone to see. At times, when a song moves the congregation, it is hard to continue to sing. I am moved to tears. I watch as realization dawns across people’s faces and they move into the throne room to worship our Great and Good God.
And through all the changes we’ve made here at Thrive and will eventually make, I hope and pray that we continue to honor our God. That He is praised here; no matter who is playing an instrument, who sings and what song is being sung. That through it all, He will be praised.
Psalm 96:8-13 (NLT)
Give to the Lord the glory he deserves!
Bring your offering and come into his courts.
Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor.
Let all the earth tremble before him.
Tell all the nations, “The Lord reigns!”
The world stands firm and cannot be shaken.
He will judge all peoples fairly.
Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice!
Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!
Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy!
Let the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the Lord, for he is coming!
He is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with justice,
and the nations with his truth.