I want to tell you a little story about what God does when you invest in people. Truly, when we believe in someone and give them courage to take a step it seems that step leads to more than we initially imagine. My life would not be the same if it were not for my parents, mentors, friends and others who encouraged me along the way.
As a young worship leader in my 20s, I returned back to my home church in the aftermath of a church split that laid waste to the ministry. This story is not about that, but it gives a clue as to why such a young person as I was given responsibly in such a large church. In the interim I helped keeps some of the impressive legacy of worship ministry going. It was my home church, after all.
Sunday night services were a time that the youth pastor encouraged me to take things a bit more contemporary or modern–at least for back in the day as they say. The youth pastor was the teaching pastor while a new pastor search was underway. Sunday night became our sandbox. My team was set for worship leading minus a drummer. No one from our main team wanted to be a part of this, so I found a 16-year-old named Sean.
Sean could barely keep a beat, hit the skins as stiff as a board, and only played heavy metal. But, he owned a drum set and he was as eager as I was stubborn to train him up and have that drummer for our Sunday night service. We practiced together for hours, me trying to get him at first just to play one pattern in time and on beat! In fact, we dragged my keyboard gear and his kit from room to room in the church. As soon as one Bible study group could no longer tolerate our jam session, we moved to the next available space.
I lost track of time and so did Sean. He stuck with me and we had a drummer who each week grew into a player who nearly held his own. Our service had the energy I had envisioned and many volume complaints to accompany it. I had accomplished something because I believed that Sean could do it! And, I needed him. I was the interim so it was not long that I moved on to another ministry.
Nearly a decade later I happened to walk into a music store only to find at the drum counter Sean. “Rich, did you know that I play professionally now? I am in a couple bands, and…” He went on to share how the steps he took to play with me opened the doors for him to become the drummer he dreamed of being. God revealed to me clearly in that moment that I may never see how many Seans I launch, but that there are many. It was as if heaven opened up the curtain just a tiny bit to show me that investing in people really pleases God.
Who are you helping take courageous steps?