But my relationship with worship music hasn't always been an amicable one.
I got my first guitar when I was fifteen years old. I used to take it to church with me on Wednesday nights and the intern for our youth group, Bryant, would show me one chord each week. I think the first one I learned was a "D", then a "C", then "G". After a month or so, he told me to practice switching between the chords. Once I got that down, he gave me some worship songs to help me work on my rhythm.
Bryant eventually finished his internship, so he moved on. After that, my Sunday school teacher, Terry, began working with me on my playing. He even went as far as helping me buy my first "nice" guitar. Once I had a few songs under my belt, my youth pastor, Mark, asked me to lead a few songs for the group. So, quaking in fear, I got up in front of all of my friends, and sang and played a few songs.
Sometime around my sophomore year, my friend Billy Webb taught me my first non-worship song, Sweet Home Alabama. After that, I started working pretty exclusively on other "secular" songs.
Fast forward a couple of years to my ministry experience during college. It didn't take long, once the youth pastors I worked for found out I played guitar and sang, for the command to be handed down. "Hey, you play guitar and sing! You should be in charge of forming a youth praise band!"
This came to be a sentence that I grew to fear and loathe. Music was always something that I loved and enjoyed in my personal life, but never really had a passion for in ministry. This combined with the fact that I've always had a little bit of an automatic push-back when told to do something, made for a bad relationship between worship music and I.
That all changed once I arrived in Orange County. I met Taffy during the first week of my internship. After about five minutes of conversation he asked me if I played guitar or sang. I replied, rather reticently, that I could if he needed me to.
So, within a few weeks, I found myself at a worship band practice and then onstage leading during a weekend service. But it was on that stage that everything changed.
I still remember stepping off stage after my first time leading and saying, "Wow! That was actually fun!" After that, I led at least twice a month for the next two and a half years.
Once I moved down to San Diego and began pastoring a Middle School group of my own, I wasn't able to lead as often as I would have liked. (I had two incredible volunteers that led for me.) And so, other than the occasional opportunity in big church, music became purely extracurricular again.
All of that to say, this past weekend was amazing. To be able to lead Jr. Highers in worship again felt like a missing piece of me was returned.
Here was our set list:
It was a blast. And I can't wait to do it again...