|I met two young men yesterday with a unique ministry.|
They lead worship for and preach, primarily, to young people. That’s not the unique part. Their ministry is heavy metal music. When they’re not playing for music festivals or recording albums, they host a worship service here in Corpus Christi. I’ve tried to go several times. We’ve wanted to take our youth group, too. It hasn’t worked out yet.
And though I haven’t been, I know one thing for sure. It gets loud. Ear plugs are a must!
What I appreciate most about their ministry is their focus on teaching others to worship God. The mostly young people they see in their services don’t always fit in most other church corners. In fact, that’s part of the worship leaders’ testimony. Their musical interests and visible tattoos were too much for their home churches. It’s not that there wasn’t room for them there. No, many in the church pushed them out of the little bit they had.
This is a sad, common story. I’m sure you’ve heard others like it.
What should we learn from these experiences? Well, I’ve learned we’ve got a lot to learn.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people complain about the faith of young people. As if they’re supposed to have it all figured out. Instead of encouraging their walk with God, we complain how much it doesn’t look like ours. And look where that’s gotten us today. In my conversations with people, I’ve heard that people haven’t given up on believing in God. They’ve given up on the church.
The church has been a place of contempt and bitterness for them. People have told me that’s just the way church is. We just need to learn to live with it. I say that’s a lie from the enemy.
Part of our growing and maturing faith is letting go of our need for control and selfishness. It also means we become examples of true faithfulness. We have no business discouraging the faith of others. But here’s the reality. If we are open to welcoming others, people come. People who may find heavy metal worship meaningful. People who might need to express their trust and love for God in different ways than you.
Can you handle that?
As Peter went from place to place to encourage the saints of God, the church grew. The church’s growth, both spiritual and numerical, is a precursor for Peter’s own evolution. He will come to recognize the room God makes for all people. He does so after the Lord teaches him.
Now, does all this mean heavy metal belongs in your worship gathering? Maybe not. But we should give people room to grow and to explore their sense of calling. Who cares if it doesn’t quite look like ours!
The guys I met told me about one of their regular worshippers. She is in her eighties. Her walk is slow and she doesn’t quite sing along with the loud group. But she is there with ear plugs in. If she isn’t there to sing, what do you think she is doing? What kind of faith compels her to show up? And what kind of compassion do you think she has for all those screaming-heavy-metal-Jesus-loving young people?