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Darrin is a smoking hot guitar player.
He can play lead guitar really, really quickly, for any song, in any key, without any mistakes.
He also knows how to tweak all kinds of sophisticated electronic equipment, to make his guitar sound incredible.
I’ve known Darrin, on and off, for the past couple of years.
I say “on and off” because, typically, I see him for awhile, then he’s gone, then, later on, I see him again for a little while, then he’s gone again.
You see, besides being a smoking hot guitar player, Darrin is also a Christian.
Like many of us, he’s been through a lot of pain in his life.
But instead of finding forgiveness, redemption, lasting friendship, and joy in any one church, he has spent years drifting from church to church, feeling like he doesn’t fit into any of them, because he thinks that none of them ever give him the opportunity to fully demonstrate his musical talents.
Last night, Darrin was back at the church that I’m involved with.
Just as he’s done a couple of times before in the past, he was there to rehearse with the church’s tiny worship team, which has had as many as five or six members, but currently consists of only two — a singer/piano player and a drummer — because I’ve been needed to run the church’s audio board, instead of being a member of the worship team.
So I ran the audio board for their practice time. They sounded really good, with Darrin playing electronically enhanced chords, instead of lead guitar. He’s probably the most technically proficient “rock” lead guitarist who’s ever played with that team.
But despite all of that, it was obvious that he felt like he didn’t fit in at all. A three-member worship team doesn’t need an incredible lead guitarist, and he was clearly unhappy to be forced to simply strum chords.
So, after a few songs, he suddenly took off his guitar and, without a word, started to pack up his equipment.
When the other two asked him why he was leaving, he poured out his feelings of frustration at what he felt was “the low level of musicianship,” his feeling that the worship songs themselves were all “generic,” and his frustration that the whole experience didn’t give him any opportunity to fully demonstrate his musical skills.
At that point, Roxanne, the worship leader/singer/piano player, quietly left the stage and went home.
That’s when I joined the conversation.
In fact, the drummer and I both stayed and ministered to Darrin for another hour. We gently explained to him that the reason that he has never found a worship team where he feels like he fits in is because God isn’t looking for people who want to demonstrate their musical talents.
God is looking for people who want to worship Him.
That’s why Roxanne is the church’s worship leader — despite the fact that she’s been going through life-threatening medical issues for the past several years, she has a thankful, joyful heart that wants to worship God.
As far as I’m concerned, that’s the most important quality a worship leader can have.
She also happens to play the piano and have a nice singing voice.
In order to “fit into” that worship team, each member has to be willing to demonstrate God’s love by playing and/or harmonizing along with the really meaningful, but relatively simple, songs that Roxanne can play, and be willing “cover” her when she makes a mistake.
They have to be willing to support Roxanne, doing however much or little is needed to make the team sound as good as possible — even if that means that they never get to fully demonstrate their individual musical talents.
And even if they have to occasionally skip a beat, or jump to the wrong part of a song, right along with Roxanne, because they love her, and want to worship God with her.
By the end of our time together, Darrin knew that we love and care about him, too, and that we understand and appreciate the difficulties that he’s been going through.
Before he left, Darrin borrowed my cell phone and called Roxanne, to apologize.
I hope and pray that he also understands an incredibly important concept of ministry:
The worship team doesn’t need a smoking hot guitar player — who is also a Christian.
It needs a fully committed Christian — who also plays the guitar.
Update, December 6, 2015: A few days later, Darrin came back. Without asking, he started to adjust the neck and string height of one of the guitars at the church. The drummer told him not to do that, because the guitar belongs to someone who wasn’t there to give him permission to do it. Immediately and silently, he packed up his guitar and all of his electronic equipment, and walked out.
We haven’t seen him since.
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