Strangers on the same team
by Rebecca J. Peck
It had been an incredible two-day family reunion in North Carolina, and we were driving home to Nashville through a string of small towns on a Sunday morning. I was simultaneously handing Goldfish crackers to the kids and observing each church we passed. It certainly felt weird being on the “outside.” Seeing the parking lots (some full, some not so full), the parents walking in with their children, the greeters opening the doors and other churchy stuff from that perspective is totally foreign to this lifetime church girl. I have only been on the “outside” a handful of times. I don’t like it.
Stranger still was the unfamiliar occurrence of not ministering through music in a church service. And that’s when it hit me. I probably was ministering in a service. Somewhere one of my songs was being sung by a choir. Or maybe it was a scared kid singing their first solo. Or maybe it was the audio backdrop to a video played during an offertory. No matter the format, God reminded me that He gives songs to His people to be used for worship, for praise, for encouragement, for teaching, for evangelism, and He gets it all done by affording us the joy to do it as a team. A global team. That particular Sunday my focus was realigned, and I was reminded of the big picture.
Won’t it be neat when we get to Heaven to figure out all the miraculous connections of faith we’ll never know about here on earth? Let’s do some imagining. Are you game? Think of these possible scenarios:
A minister of music agonizes over song selection for an upcoming Sunday, never having rest in his/her spirit about the song list until a change is made. The song that ends up being used is what a distraught mom of a wayward child keeps in her heart all through the following week after the words reached a place deep inside her during the service. Her co-workers notice the peace that has come over her. She shares Christ with them.
A soloist sings a song that calls listeners to the cross, and a first time visitor is moved to contemplate its message, hear the subsequent preaching of the Word, and come to know the Savior. He is then able to lead His own family to Christ.
A missions team sings praise choruses with a group of unreached children in India. One of those children, so enthralled by the music sung to a loving God, grows up to be a powerful evangelist who wins many souls in his own country.
Or how about this one:
A middle-aged songwriter finds herself up at 2 A.M. with a song burning in her heart. She grabs the closest thing she can find to write with, scribbles out some words, edits it while she’s frying bacon the next morning, sits at the piano with a cup of coffee for the rest of the morning (or the rest of the day), records a work audio on her iPhone, does a demo, pitches it to a compiler, arranger or Lifeway representative, they decide to use the song, an arranger does an arrangement, studio musicians and singers record it, Lifeway markets and sells it, ministers of music choose it and buy it, choirs sing it all over the world, people hear the music and lives are changed and blessed.
Every one of these scenarios has something in common: People acting in ministry as a team. But we don’t all know each other, do we? In fact, for the most part, we’re probably all strangers. Isn’t that amazing?
It really does matter, all this stuff we do. It matters a lot, and it matters for eternity. Let’s pray for one another and not forget that beyond where to put the announcements in this week’s order of worship, there’s a whole world that can be affected by what we do and what we sing in each and every service.
This is the most important scenario of all:
A Mighty, Holy, Powerful God is worshiped with a pure heart by the people He has called by His name. In their praises, He makes his inhabitance. He stirs their hearts to revival. He is glorified, and they are empowered to serve.
What an awesome privilege!
And who knows, maybe one day the Lord will reveal to me that as I was driving by one of those churches in one of those little Tennessee towns, somebody inside was simultaneously singing one of my songs. And we were ministering together…as a team.