Devotional by Sarah Hummel
Singing in church choir was my life. It was practically my identity. I had been singing in church choir since I was old enough to be allowed to sing in church choir. I knew the vocal parts. I knew the color scheme of the week. I knew when to jump, when to sway, and when to stand straight. I even got to direct the choir sometimes when I was lucky. I helped plan choir events. I helped create the choir orientation. I was on the choir “new member” team. I LOVED being in choir!
There was a day, right about 2007, when the worship pastor stepped up on the microphone during choir practice and told us that our “words team” was incredibly short. They needed some people to step up and volunteer. I didn’t hesitate; my hand shot up. I think I was the only one. She looked at me and said, “Thanks Sarah – go ahead over there and get started”. A little bit in shock, I stepped down from the choir risers, walked through the sea of empty chairs in the auditorium, and stepped into the sound booth in the back.
Thus began my new life as a member of the “words team”. In the back of the room. Where no one could see me. Where no one would recognize if I was doing a good job, but everyone would notice if I did something wrong. Where the team was sparse and there were lots of services needing volunteers. Where I was unfamiliar and had no idea how to work any of the equipment or software. Where I didn’t have any friends. Where I didn’t want to serve. But — it’s where I was most needed.
Why did I choose to say yes to this role change? Why did I suddenly give YEARS helping to build the “words team”? Because I passionately believe that church isn’t for me.
Jesus came to earth to reconcile us to Himself, but He also came to establish His church. Remember when He told Peter in Matthew 16:18, “On this rock I will build my church…”? I believe the church is one major way that God shows us His limitless love. In church, He sets us in family, He gives us purpose, He uses our gifts, He extends mercy and grace, He provides accountability, and He allows us to care for others. Where else do you experience such an outpouring of extravagant love?
Serving my church where I’m needed is one way I make the effort to also be limitless in my love. If a new person came through the doors and saw me, personally, singing away in the choir, that might not make a hill of beans difference to them. There are lots of smiling faces in the choir! However, if they couldn’t follow along to the words of the songs, or read along with the pastor’s notes on screen, now that might cause them to be terribly frustrated or distracted. I would much rather provide a better environment for the people I am serving, than just serve where it makes me feel satisfied or comfortable.
In many, many years of ministry life, I’ve served my church in a lot of different places. I’ve started ministries. I’ve been asked to shut down ministries. I’ve served in places I didn’t want to be, and I’ve served in places that provided incredible fun and fulfillment. The thing is, it doesn’t matter to me where I serve, or what I’m asked to do. I keep my positions held with an open hand. Because church isn’t about me. It’s about lost people who need to find community, relationship with God, and purpose.
I’m grateful that God has trusted me with so much responsibility to experience so many roles, and I’ve been able to help grow so many different types of teams. I choose to be an ambassador of God’s love, above my own comfort, and no time I give to serving God’s house will ever be wasted.