With apologies to author Jim Harrison and the book that became a movie, “Legends of the Fall,” I coin this similar phrase today as a public service announcement for all worship ministry leaders heading into the Christmas season. First, let me share a story:
At my first full-time church, the Pastor and I would make a rather dramatic entrance every Sunday morning that signaled the beginning of the service. We actually had a light mounted on either side at the choir entrance doors and when it was time to enter, the light would come on and we would march stately into the sanctuary and up the front steps to the pulpit. Since we broadcasted our services live, people all across the region saw this entrance.
One Sunday morning early in my tenure there, I followed the Pastor in only to somehow miss the first step up the platform – and fell completely on my face. My Bible and folder went one way and I went the other. You could hear the entire congregation gasp as the spectacle unfolded on live television. My Pastor, ever the voice of encouragement, leaned over to me and said, “Just lay there.” Everyone got a good chuckle out of it.
I wish I could say that was the last “misstep” of my ministry career. Just last weekend, I got something out of order in the worship plan and almost sent the choir out of the room before we had even sung one of the songs of the morning. I gave them the cue to exit and those sweet people just looked at me and shook their heads, “no.” Then, I realized what I had done, and we went on as planned. No one in the congregation noticed, except of course our pastor who couldn’t resist a good-natured comment on his way to the platform. At least I got it right in the second service.
There is a lesson here for all of us in worship ministry. There are many moving parts to highly produced worship services and productions with visuals, in-ear monitors, and complicated assortments of singers and musicians. We will do everything we can to execute the plan with flawless precision and we should. We want everything to be as it should be.
But we are people and the volunteers we lead are too. Every once in a while, we are going to fall on our way up onto the platform. In those moments, we can’t take ourselves so seriously that we can’t laugh at those moments.
Pray that this doesn’t happen so much that it hinders the Gospel going forth. But also pray that it happens enough to remind us all that we aren’t perfect – that the power of the ministry rests on His perfection, not ours.
That is the lesson from the fall.
Mike Harland is the Director of LifeWay Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book (checkout his latest book: Worship Essentials). In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family (and his two new grand-babies). Visit MikeHarland.com to keep up with all that Mike has going on.