Back on deck.
Today at the local Church I led the service. It was an interesting experience because it is the first service I have led since December 29th last year. I had a few weeks' notice so I had checked out the set readings for the day and had been stewing on it for quite awhile. They wanted it to be a family service, with a childrens' part in it. There is one child who comes to Church with her parents and her baby brother. I probably had too many elements in the service, so it went a bit longer than usual. I had done power points, I played You Tube clips of songs and a short film with a children's dramatisation of the Christmas story. The latest technology the locals had used was an overhead projector, so all this technology was quite new to them. I had to take our TV and our stereo system down to the Church and there were many hours spent in preparation.
I was good..
I normally sit in the second back row of the Church and while listening, can see people as the visiting ministers lead. They have their heads down often and are obviously not caught up in worship. But as I led this morning, I noticed people nodding in agreement, smiling and on the edge of their seats listening and thinking. Even though I was nervous (shaking actually) and it was not my best effort, I knew I had grabbed their attention and that they were "with" the whole worship process. I had quite a few very positive comments and my wife, who mixed more after the service, received a lot more positive comments that she was asked to pass on. I am good at this worship leadership. I can do it in a relevant way. I do enjoy unpacking spiritual truth for average people and leading them into an experience of worship that involves their senses and relates to their real life.
It is stressful and tiring. I went back to my ministry days of little sleep on Saturday nights. My reaction when I got home was strange. It was like, "Wow! When can I do this again?" It wasn't necessarily the positive comments (nor the pay - I was expecting to do it for nothing but they pay the ministers - quite well?) but more the feeling that "this is my art form". It was the deep joy of creativity. I enjoyed the challenge and knew I did it well. But then I bounced back to reality and thought, "Nah! It is also hard stressful work and somewhere, some time, if I am theologically honest, I am going to annoy some people's religious sensitivities or sacrifice my own integrity trying not to." So tonight I feel tired and uncertain about what I would say if they asked me to lead worship on a more regular basis than just occasionally fill in.