During my freshman year of college I played fairly often with a buddy of mine, J.C. Elder, that lived on the same floor of our dormitory. We ended up "recording" two cds that year - mostly of covers of popular praise and worship songs - that I really only used to give out to family as an affordable Christmas gift for a college student. It was then that I realized how much fun it was to jam with other musicians - even if it was only basic worship songs.
Throughout the rest of my college years and my involvement with GT Christian Campus Fellowship I thoroughly enjoyed worshiping under the leadership of Clay Hining, Ryan Kiesshauer, Jesse Dukes, and Stevie Hale. While I've never had the talent to hang with those guys, I occasionally got an opportunity to help lead worship during the summer Bible studies, in the Freshman quad on Sunday evenings, a couple of Cafe CCFs with Jesse and Quiggle, and once at a church service in Carrollton with Buck Bryan. That was the extent of my worship leading and after finishing my intern year I really didn't think I'd ever have the opportunity to lead worship again. That came mostly from the fact that Marisa and I attended a church of a couple thousand or so and if you wanted to play with the worship band you practically had to be a professional, which I'm clearly not.
That notion changed when Marisa and I attended our current church, International Christian Fellowship (ICF), for the first time this past September. I noticed that there wasn't a guitar player or a male singer on the team, which was much different from the worship that I'd been used to in the past. So the worship leader introduced himself to us and asked us right off the bat if we played instruments or sang (remember this is the first time we'd been to the church). I said I did and he started asking if I'd be interested in helping lead worship..........then minutes later asked the critical question, "you are going to come back, aren't you?" Thus, I was catapulted back into playing worship songs and had the opportunity that I never thought I'd have again.
We quickly found out that our church is just too small for people not to serve and do their part with what gifts they have. While it still is much different from what we've been a part of in the past, it's been refreshing in a lot of ways. I must say that I really enjoy jamming praise and worship songs on a weekly basis and I realize that God has prepared me with that talent for the purpose of being used - and it feels great being able to respond to that call. Don't get me wrong here........I'm not claiming to be amazing or anything, but my ability has seemed to be just right for the needs of the church and it's cool to see that fit together. I've been super-encouraged by tons of positive feedback from a lot of church members and I've also been able to help with other things like youth events.
It has also been a God thing that two of our solid friends (and small group members), Katy and Craig, are also musicians and have been able to work with me in leading worship occasionally. We have a great time jamming at their apartment while preparing for our "gigs". Attached are pictures from our recent gig at a youth event at the church.
Katy on the keys, me on the acoustic, Craig on the electric, and Georg on the drums
bringin' it with sick trendiness!
So in short......it's been a huge blessing to get to help lead worship on Sundays and it seems that God gives us talents with the intention of using them.