Man oh man, we had our first youth group last night.
Talk about water in the desert.
That may have been one of the more powerful youth group gatherings that BCC has ever had. We set an attendance record (FLIPPING 215 TEENAGERS), got a TON of new people (who are all super nice/outgoing/gonna be great assets to the church family), introduced my supertalented friend Justin as new worship leader (he rocked), got so many prayers answered and felt the presence of the Holy Spirit so deeply during worship. It was crazy.
My only regret was that I didn’t bring my camera to get a picture onstage of the hundreds of students in the audience. That was quite a sight to see. Perhaps next week.
It’s occurring to me that part of my summer’s depressive loneliness may have been caused by an overall lack of community worship happening. I mean, I went to church as much as I could (which wasn’t very much because Sunday is apparently the day to travel), but Sunday’s a little different anyway just because there’s a lot less crazy and everyone’s wearing nice clothing and it’s hard to smile through all the powder on your face.
Youth group is a lot less formal, a lot less pristine. It’s a bunch of sweaty teenagers who talk too much and are very proficient in the game of 9-Square. Sometimes they text during worship, scream unnecessarily, or get angry when they lose at games. Source sermons are often full of shhhhs.
I am girly. I like getting dressed up, do not succeed at most physical activities, and get annoyed when my pixie turns into a curly mess at the end of a perspiration-filled night. I see the same people on Sunday as I do on Wednesday. Speaking in terms of how it looks from the outside, I should not enjoy Wednesday nights more than Sunday mornings.
But thank God for 1 Samuel 16:7, because the heart story is something different entirely.
Same people, same place, same teachers. Different hearts. I don’t know if it’s because we’re all just tired on Sundays and excited from the games on Wednesdays, but the “come as you are” mantra that our big church worship pastor insists on is truly more found here, amidst all the sweat and laughter. This is the place I can shine; this is the place I can fall apart. Sunday, not so much.
I kind of fear adulthood because adults have no youth group and often don’t experience that kind of bonding in Bible studies or life groups, either. They basically get big church, once a week. Maybe something else during the week. If big church is all they get, I can see why faith is hard to be made real continuously in adulthood.
Not bashing Sunday (because the senior pastor and worship leader are both phenomenal) but often I feel there’s just such a mixed group that comes in, and many of them are not willing to become even more undignified than this for Christ. They instead wear their knee-length dresses and adjust their perfumed hair and murmur along with the worship music. The ones truly and visibly worshiping are few, far-between, and worst of all, seen as strange by these other polite churchgoers.
Worship is not polite.
I don’t think Sunday mornings should be as polite as they are.
Respectful, yes. Less sweaty than Wednesday, sure. But it seems to me that people enter the church wearing a bubble of Politeness and Niceness and My Spiritual Walk Is Going Just Wonderfully Thank You Very Much-ness. Like who can look the most put-together out of everyone else.
That’s not the church of Christ.
We are broken people on a joyful journey to eternal wellness. It’s hard to see sometimes. It looks like a bunch of rules sometimes. But once we grasp the weight of those words, worship becomes something so much more.
But the harder I try the more clearly can I
Feel the depth of our fall, and the weight of it all
So this might could be the most impossible thing
Your grandness in me, making me clean
How many times have I sung those words and not realized how grand my God is?
A lot of times. A whole lot.
And the music really doesn’t mean much – music is dead, after all – until the Holy Spirit enters the room while you’re singing it and fills the audience and you look out from behind your mike and see hundreds of teenagers, heads bowed, arms outstretched. Kids who have abandoned their cool so they can be with Jesus tonight.
Adults, I charge you: Stop being cool. Start the worship revolution, whatever condition your church is in. You don’t need anything to worship except the desire to and an open mind.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
P. S. A letter to everyone who was in the Source audience last night:
THANK YOU. I can’t even explain how inspiring you all are to me with your worship. People say that I am the one leading worship, but really, it’s you guys who are truly doing the leading. You bring me hope and make me love my singing job even more than I did before. ❤