I loved going to chapel as a freshman. It was like a youth rally or camp twice a week. The whole community came together, and I felt part of something. Something great, huge, and holy. I had some significant spiritual moments from 10:40 to 11:30 on Mondays and Wednesdays, but I’m going to be honest: it helped that I was in love with the worship leader.
Chapel had one worship band, composed of the cool kids on campus: beautiful, talented, pure (assumedly). They wore modest clothes in the latest fashions, wrote songs, and were upper-classmen, the latter fact which automatically thrust them into the upper echelons of Christian college society. They were all friends with each other and went on retreats and were ridiculously spiritual, but in a cool way. Like, not close-minded, y’know? They were just…awesome.
How could I avoid falling in love with the leader of the chapel band? I mean, c’mon. He was a senior, with mussed brown hair, hipster glasses, and flannel shirts. He wore nice jeans (showing respect for Jesus) and a pair of Toms. He played guitar, mainly, but he could also fill in on keys and drum at a moment’s notice. His guitar strap? Had a cross on it. His forearm? Tattoo of Hebrew writing. No idea what it said, but who cares! He was dreamy.
Of course, I never introduced myself to him. No way! He was a shiny beacon of Christ personified, and I was a shy English major who stared at her feet while walking through the Quad. I didn’t deserve him. Who could? Who could live around all of that holiness?
More than that, as a shy little girl, I couldn’t imagine such PDA for Jesus. These public displays of affection were grand, loud, and beautiful. I wondered what was wrong with me that I couldn’t share my own love for Jesus in front of hundreds of people. I played piano for eight years, sang in choirs for nearly all of my life. I could sing harmony, and I loved music. But what was wrong with me that I couldn’t give Jesus any props publicly, like my lovely worship leaders?
The Church has the tendency to idolize those on the worship team. They’re our own personal rock stars: beautiful, talented, and demonstrative. And yet, we can’t all be worship leaders. There have to be some worship followers. Just as the I need worship leaders to bring me to my feet and out of my comfort zone, I need to be around to bring certain worship leaders back down to earth. They’re just humans after all. Sometimes they’re moody, sometimes the music matters more than the folks around them, sometimes they’re more concerned with their status as Christian campus celebrity. Just like sometimes I’m cynical, silent, and unwilling to try new things.
It’s why we need each other, isn’t it? Both inside the church and outside of it, we need people who elevate or ground us. At the same time, we need to find out who we are and behave accordingly, not like someone else. There’s no fast track to God’s presence, not even with a cross guitar strap and a Hebrew tattoo.