I’ve been singing in church or leading worship in some capacity for over 30 years now, and I’ve seen people come and go, styles change drastically and witnessed a lot of “talent” over the years.
Sometimes I have been amazed by people’s talent, sometimes I’ve been blessed by their heart…but rarely have I been impressed to witness both in the same place. I’ve had the privilege to work with many talented artists…and the misfortune to work with many who were just…talented.
Yeah, there’s lots of “talent” out there.
…and there is always someone waiting in the wings to out-sing, out-perform…out-shine if that’s what you’re in it for.
(Of course, it takes very little to “shine” next to a 40-something, soon-to-be-“Grandma”, pastor’s wife, but I digress…)
I remember, about 10 years ago, being asked when I was going to realize I was too “old” to sing and finally get out of the way so that younger people could do it…
or more recently, hearing that “Anyone over 30 shouldn’t be leading worship”! (Sorry, Chris Tomlin!)
Anyway, yeah, I’ve seen a lot.
This all came to mind recently when I caught an interview of “Mumford & Sons” while performing with Emmylou Harris.
I was raised in the country and have an affinity for blue-grass, so I’ve been listening to Emmylou for…forever. And since we’ve already established the fact that I’m “old” (have been for years now), Emmylou is absolutely decrepit by that standard!
...of course, she has also been doing her thing for at least twice as long as the Mumford-boys have been alive.
You add to that the fact that these “boys” are on fire…at the top of their game and you get a recipe for what I’ve witnessed over and over: an arrogance that blinds an artist to the fact that music is a fluid thing – it is a fickle tide full of deep spots and shallow pools in which you can believe the press of the moment and forget that talent can take you where your heart can’t keep you – blinding you to the reality that someone paved the way for you to be able to do what you do…
But, as I watched the lead singer speak of singing with this gray-haired woman who could no-doubt be his grandmother, I was amazed…
not by his talent, but by his heart.
He didn’t go on and on with a bunch of flattery for Emmylou Harris because she had made a name for herself in the music industry. He just humbly stated how honored he was to sing with her – completely lacking arrogance or a need to remind the listeners that he was the one currently in the charts.
I don’t really know why it was so refreshing to me. It actually brought tears to my eyes.
Then, early Sunday morning, really early for someone who could literally be the entire C3 band’s mother, I stood under the hot lights for a run-through of the morning’s “set”, and I looked around and was just as refreshed as when I heard the Mumford guy speak of Emmylou.
Justin, our hugely talented and world-traveled worship pastor, was leading a band that ranges in age from 20-something down to something-teen. And I had the privilege of witnessing again a complete lack of pretense or arrogance. There’s so much talent in this band…
…but there’s one thing bigger and greater.
and that “one thing” renewed my faith in the “fickle tide” of the music world.
of course, that “one thing” is their heart.
Justin leads, and they follow. And in spite of their youth or their abilities, they seem untouched by the arrogance that is so pervasive in the “worship” world.
I’ve been doing this a long time, and working with “artists” for that many years can change a person…it can leave you jaded and scarred.
But not in this season of my life!
I am blessed to be a part of a worship team that is both talented beyond measure…and humble enough to lead others to the Throne of God in worship.
...to point the way to Him.
Thanks Babe (that would be Byron – lest there be any confusion! 🙂 ) for having the insight to choose a worship leader with a true heart for worship and excellence!
Thanks to Justin and the band for your heart!
And, most of all, thanks to God that He has allowed this season of refreshment…just when I needed it most!