A couple of weeks ago, I went to our church’s youth group after a long, hard day at work. I was stressed, tired, and, in my heart, I really didn’t want to be there.
It’s not that I don’t like our youth ministry. I love it, but I was not in the mood to be around 230 screamin’ teens.
The teachings by Jeremy Hickman are truth-centered and relevant, the leaders are committed to developing relationships with the teens, and the worship team rocks as it leads us to praise God. But I was thinking about work, about the next day’s tasks, about the people who wronged me that day, and about how tired I was.
I was not thinking about God.
Our youth ministry nights start with worship songs in our sanctuary led by Seth Slay and the band. It’s a time to prepare the heart for engaging with the teens. It’s about getting ready to connect with those in need.
It’s about letting God into your heart.
The announcements ended, the lights dimmed, and the band started. I just stared at the screen as Seth opened up with words of encouragement.
My heart just wasn’t in it…
The song started…
As the first words were about to be sung, I heard a young girl down in front of the sanctuary start to sing the song about 1/2 second early. She was loud, fairly off key, and just slightly ahead of everybody else.
Now, a lot of us really don’t sing “good” and I am the first to admit that I couldn’t carry a tune if my life depended on it. But I do remember chuckling and thinking, “isn’t that sweet”.
She sang and sang, a little ahead of the group at times, a little behind at others. But, boy, did she sing.
But my voice just wasn’t in it…
The mind convicted…
As I listened to the worship team and to the teens around me, I felt the comfort of God’s presence. I still wasn’t in “into it” but some of my resentment about the day had melted.
And then suddenly, as I listened to the teen girl down front sing, it hit me. She was worshiping with intention, without fear of what she looked like (or sounded like), and with purpose.
Her heart was into worship…
The heart converted…
As I listened to her, I wasn’t hearing an out of tune squeaky voice. I was hearing beautiful music, wondrous praise. And I felt a humility being there in the presence of God and those teens.
I knew then that this is what God must hear when we worship him. Not out of tune followers, not undeserving sinners, but praising believers.
With that, I felt a sense of joy that erased the troubles of the day. Gone were my thoughts of work, struggles, and strife. All of my worries were washed away in a single beat of the music.
I went into the service thinking about me and judging the singing quality of teens. I came out a convicted man with a changed heart. Thank you Jesus, for humbling me. Thank you for making me know:
It’s about letting God into your heart unabashedly.
Man, I love youth group.