I came home this evening from camp so that I could organize and cook a bit before everyone arrives tomorrow and with just a few minutes to put my feet up, I wanted to write how blessed I've been with all that has taken place in the last 24+ hrs. We've had a small group this year... (a max of about 25) but I think it's really helped them to connect. We had some from Sunday mornings and some from friday nights so they didn't all know each other but they mixed and mingled and participated in what was going on.
The theme was Our Journey with God and Mike had asked several adults to share their journeys with God. So far we heard Pastor Mark, Sarah and David... all with sweet stories on the journey God has taken them. Tomorrow I share... eek I do not like speaking in front of people but my story is to hit a hit on something that I'm quite passionate about so I think I'll be okay. :)
But the thing that touched me the most was their worship. I can remember being their age and not interested in singing or really understanding what worship was all about. Plus I can remember there always being those people in the back who were talking or doing their own thing and it just all felt awkward. And I think all youth groups still struggle with those things but this group showed a lot of respect for what was going on... what the purpose was. They may not have been comfortable to sing and they may not understand totally what worship is all about but they all tried. I don't think there was one who didn't make an effort and that really blew me away. Tonight before I left there was one more 'singing set' and Mike challenged all of us to worship in a way that we felt comfortable... meaning dance, clap, raise hands, kneel, whatever it might be. He reminded those of us that attended the Delirious concert that we don't have to stand straight and look like prunes but this was our time with God. And I couldn't believe what happened after that... the energy that produced... the joy that came upon the students faces. They were dancing, singing louder, clapping... they were praising God in their own special way and it went from quiet whispers to loud, joyful praises.
And it made me think.... I wonder what guests think when they walk into a church and see people standing still, singing quietly, maybe some even with unintentional frowns? Would non-energetic/enthusiastic singing make people question our faith or passion for God? And why do we feel that we have to worship one way in church and another way at a concert? Why can't/aren't we comfortable worshiping in a way that brings us joy and helps us connect to our Creator? What exactly does sincere worship in song look like? Now I know that everyone is different... I wouldn't be someone who dances or jumps up and down (partially because I can't dance and can't jump up and down and stay in one place.. which on a side note is why I don't do it at a concert too... not because I'm boring) but there are other things I've wished I've felt more freedom to do.
Anyway... I'm leading worship next week and this is just me randomly thinking through some things that I've been challenged with.
I'll share more about camp on another day. Hope you have a great Sat!