To help set the scene you have to imagine I am 6 or 7 years old. My mother has dreams and aspirations of me learning this wonderful instrument and playing in all kinds of arenas, including church, I'm sure. The woman who my parents took me to (my father must have been in on it) for lessons decided that I would take part in the fall recital.....AFTER 4 LESSONS! Yep, that right, 4 lessons. Anyone want to guess how well I performed?
EPIC FAIL! I plunked the first few notes and then offered a wonderful non melody of cries thru what was probably twinkle, twinkle little star. I was crushed. But this is not about my embarassment as a child. the problem turns out that I could have been very gifted at the piano. A young man at our church (who is a protege pianist) even noticed the length of my fingers one day and asked if I ever played....sigh :(
All is not lost, I do love the piano....when other people play it. BUT I feel some remorse about those 4 lessons because I have to enjoy it from a far. I always feel removed from the enjoyment of this particular instrument. It got me thinking about the gifts and talents of our congregation....and my responsibility to the people of God to help equip them with 1) a recognition of gifts that God has placed in their lives and B) just how we go about getting them to fall in love with those gifts!
Forcing people to 'do ministry' is an absolute waste of time....like asking a 6 year old to play at a recital after 4 lessons. There is, however, a wonderful life lesson in promoting a try it before you buy it approach...allowing people to plunk around a while before learning the notes, scales and sheet music. I remember I tried the trombone because it made the up and down notes like at a circus. (I wasn't very good at that either.) Finding what people love is more difficult but it is also more rewarding. There is a heart language there that tells more stories than can be rehearsed.
Finally, I still love music, I just can't play. I have entered into that love from a different direction. I wonder how much that is true for people who want to be involved in the life of God in the world. -Praying Attention - Pastor Andy