Training Camp

It all began early this summer when things were turned upside-down in our worship department at the church. In order to enhance communication and strengthen bonds of unity, our pastor took our existing worship teams and mixed them up so we were given the opportunity to work with new instrumentalists and vocalists every week. The prospect of the following three months terrified me! I had built such a strong connection with my OneVoice girls that I felt completely out of the loop. It was disorganized, messy, and stressful!
As the summer went on, I found opportunities to embrace new relationships, but most of the time, I found myself reverting to the safe and comfortable. If I had the chance, I would reach out to those I had led worship with before and fall back into a typical format. It felt great— almost normal. But then I realized I wasn’t fulfilling what Pastor had asked us to do. He was praying that we would reach out to others and build a strong community. But sometimes, it was just too hard. I cared deeply for the others in our worship department, but sometimes I just wanted to throw in the towel. There was no way we could win in the face of these challenges if we didn’t work together, and I was one of the weakest links in the equation.
At the end of the summer, we held a worship department meeting, and a fellow worship leader immediately addressed the relational struggles that had happened over the past three months. She talked about the pre-existing relationships and how introducing new team members here and there had been difficult because those people were walking into an already-pre-existing structure. That’s when this wonderful woman brought a football analogy into the equation.
“It’s like when Aaron Rodgers, quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, completes a pass to wide receiver, Jordy Nelson. They’ve developed a relationship, a connection. They trust each other because they’ve been working together for a long time. Now what if the rookie comes on the field— someone who hasn’t played that many games— and he thinks Rodgers is going to send the ball his way? Well, there’s a great deal of trust and hope that needs to happen there. Rodgers has to have faith that the rookie is going to catch the ball. But let’s be honest; with Jordy Nelson on the field, it’s a no brainer. He’s going to go to the target he’s most familiar with and knows has his back.”
I thought about that analogy for a moment. It made perfect sense, and it summed up my feelings of stress and despair over the summer. I realized how difficult it was to make new connections and truly trust new people. It felt a lot like we had just endured our own little training camp of sorts. We had been thrown into situations that were new and uncomfortable but also valuable learning experiences. We had pre-existing relationships on our teams, but there was room for more valuable players. True, we played music, not football, but the end goal was the same. We needed to work together to make something happen.
At the beginning of the school year and the start of football season, our worship teams have entered a new normal. We have returned to our regular schedule and structure but with a few changes. We are no longer calling ourselves by our group or band names; instead, we are identifying ourselves as one whole team of worship leaders. We have welcomed in a few new faces— our rookies— if you will, and we have shuffled a few musicians around to help out in groups that need it. In the end, I think our struggles over the summer have created a stronger team— willing to embrace new relationships with a united goal. We have banded together as one to worship the One true Christ.

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