This past Sunday morning was a special experience for us as a faith community. We had a young man lead worship from our congregation. Nate Boyd led us Downtown. This young man is a senior in high school and has felt the call of God in his life. He believes that, as a follower of Christ, God has a plan for his future. It includes leading others in worship. In submission to that belief, he has been trying to strengthen his skills in that area.
Nate is a talented young man. He has sung in choir and special musical groups. His voice is natural and clear. He is a section leader in the marching band, playing French horn, though you don’t really march with a French horn. It’s something else, but who can remember?! He is an excellent guitar player and has a heart for what he wants to do. With those qualifications, he has the right stuff, right?
Some people believe that leading in worship is picking out some songs and singing them with some other people. For young leaders, most of these songs would consist of the ones that the leader would really like to do. You know, “I really play these well”, or “my voice sounds really good on these”. Unfortunately, this is not the mark of a worship leader. They would be classified as song leaders, not worship leaders. Worship leaders consider the community they are leading. What would be appropriate for them? How do I get the community of faith to move from our individual concerns and thoughts to a corporate place in order to hear the Word of God and experience His presence? Worship leading takes on a whole new meaning when this happens. Picking out a few songs is easy; thinking about the progression of the worship experience isn’t. It takes time, experience, and personal growth.
That’s why Sunday morning was special. Nate has been leading our youth for more than a year in worship. It was time he had the opportunity to lead a broader group in that experience. We had the chance to join him in the journey. In doing so, we also had the chance to encourage his giftedness and affirm the call of God on his life. True, for some, the musical style may have been a stretch. But we all need to be stretched a little. God was honored in the morning and the community experienced a new generation of leaders beginning to emerge. It doesn’t get much better than that!