Monday, August 27, 2012

Ministry Bloopers, or How to Run a Race With Perseverance

I'll never forget the first time I played the keys in worship.  It was great ... Until it wasn't.

At my first ministry job, I was blessed with a stellar band, including a great piano player.  He was on staff as an accompanist, and in addition to accompanying duties he served as a kind of band leader for me.  I was new to contemporary worship ministry, and he was a great resource as somebody who could speak 'rock band', considering I had no idea what I was doing when I was just starting out in the ministry.

Anyway, as a music major I had to learn how to play piano, even had to learn how to read  lead sheets and chord charts and the like (think musical short hand for pop/rock musicians).  I had been practicing piano a lot, because upon starting grad school there was a whole other level of keyboard proficiency I had to attain (yay - for organ). 

So when my piano player went out of town, I took it as an opportunity to step in and try some new things.

It went extremely well ... I had probably practiced for this service more than any other.  I function well under that kind of pressure, and I like setting goals.  The main goal was to lead from the piano for Sunday morning, get through it, and assess later.  It was great, until the invitational hymn.

This was the tricky one of the set for the morning - Step By Step, by Michael W. Smith.  Did I mention this was seven years ago?

My pastor stepped out at the end of his sermon, as most pastors do, offering the invitation to the church family ... I was ready for my cue, as was the band.  The drummer counted off, and two bars in my fingers and my mind got more than a little mixed up and I played some mean junk.  And by junk, I mean horribleness. 

I late out an epic "Arghhh" into my mic ... One of the classic exclamations that can be found in a comic book when somebody gets punched in the face.

Needless to say, things came to a screeching halt.  The pastor looked at me, and we both laughed.  The band laughed.  The congregation laughed.  I'm sure I was all kinds of red.  But we picked up right on the verse and finished the service strong. 

It was pretty embarrassing, and I gladly handed back the keyboard reigns the next week.  But you know what?  Nobody ragged on me.  My pastor didn't rag on me.  The band may have elbowed me in the ribs about it, but it was all in good fun.  What leader hasn't messed up?  What the experience taught me, was a lesson in humility ... That I'm supposed to have it.  Here was the Jesus Juke - Christ was humble, all the way to the Cross.

I messed up - but that was alright.  I came back next week and continued to run that race of perseverance that Paul talked about.

Do you have any worship bloopers?  How did you deal?