When Tony Carmody, the youth pastor at local church Southwest, asked me to rap at what he called “Community Worship” a couple of weeks ago, I was like, “Sure, I’m down”, not really knowing at all what to expect. Turns out Community Worship is exactly what it sounds like: a bunch of high schoolers from two different youth groups meeting together for the sole purpose of worshipping Jesus in community. When I pulled into Southwest Church this evening, I pulled next to hardcore-music-obsessed drummer Blake, who was sitting in his car screaming along with the song he was playing. He proceeded to unload all 5,000 parts of his drum set, and bassist Nolan and I, along with Tony, helped him bring it in. I find it hilarious how much drummers require in comparison with the other members of a band. This picture actually came to mind tonight and I laughed out loud:
Worshipping with the guys from Southwest, as it turns out, was completely different from worshipping with Josh and everyone else from Southbrook. At Southbrook, we practice meticulously. Josh was always really good about making sure we practiced for a good amount of time on Tuesdays (usually for about 2 hours straight) and then again Saturdays before we played for another 2 hours. We were really well versed in what we were playing before show-time came around. Not so much for the Southwest guys. The band members spent the hour before the kids arrived lost in their own creative worlds: Blake playing hardcore riffs and challenging the other drummer to drum-offs, Nolan debating whether or not to play bass on the baptismal, Regan….just being her completely strange self, and me, walking around aimlessly, confused that there was absolutely NO direction. Time passed quickly, and right before we were going to start I asked Tony if we were going to run through Shadows by DCB, the song I was going to rap in (Lecrae’s part, obviously). Tony said, “No, you know it right?”. He laughed at the shock registering on my face. I did know it – thank God for that.
Turns out the whole “not practicing” gig works out really well for the Southwest crew. They were passionate about worship – Blake beat away at his tom like it was his job, freaking out in praise. Tony suggested that we all start worshipping with the energy, intensity, and passion that Blake had. When I got up on stage to rap and Tony introduced me as having an “awesome talent”, I started to get pretty nervous, but as soon as the beat dropped I realized I knew the song inside and out. I rapped with confidence and passion, because I believed every word of what I was saying. Without the cross there’s only condemnation/If Jesus wasn’t executed there’s no celebration/So in times that are good, in times that are bad/For any time I’ve had it all I will be glad/I will boast in the cross, I’ll boast in my pains/I will boast in the sunshine, boast in his reign/What’s my life if it’s not praising You?/Another dollar in my bank account of vain pursuit/I do not count my life as any value or precious at all/Let me finish my race, let me answer my call
Then we sang Give Me Faith, which if you know anything about me, you’ll know it’s my favorite worship song. I got to lead it, but because we didn’t practice, the song was WAYYY to low for me, and I sang the first verse like a man and then took matters into my own hands and transposed it up to D. I’m sure it sounded terrible but it was in worship. I remember having a moment on stage when I thought “This is probably so bad”. I really wanted to stop, but I continued because I realized it really didn’t matter at that point. I had the option to lift my voice in utter surrender or cop out because I didn’t live up to my own standards. So I sang. Loud and proud. I moved away from the mic a little, too. 🙂
I had such a great time with everyone tonight. It was cool to see musicians so passionate about what they’re doing in leading worship. Each band member was lost in their own song to their Creator, each musician lost in their own symphony of praise.