Posts Tagged ‘camp


I’m okay! I’m okay. I’m okay?

About two months ago, I led worship for CBC’s middle school and high school camps. On the second day of the first camp, I decided to ride a mountain bike through the trails on the campground with some of the guys. I stumbled upon every twelve-year-old boy’s dream: a steep hill. How could I resist? A bike, a really steep hill…how could this be anything but a blast?

Well, I was right. It was a blast! There was, however, a minor hiccup in the fun. No big deal or anything, I just hit a bump going 25mph or so and flew over the handlebars, landed on my shoulder, and tumbled 45ft from where the bike stopped.  No biggie.

Once I caught my breath, we all laughed at how amazing that was. It had to have been pretty funny watching 200 pounds of man flying that far through the air. I’m okay! I’m okay. I’m okay?  Suddenly, I realized that something was wrong with my shoulder. It felt funny, like it was drooping a bit. Then I realized I couldn’t really move my arm much.

Uh oh.

Off to the emergency room. You know it’s a good injury when the doctor and the x-ray tech are staring at the display on the x-ray machine with wide eyes and open mouths. It was my collarbone. Snapped it like a twig. The doctor also said I bruised the ribs on the left side of my body, and that all of the muscles on the left side of my torso would be in constant spasm from the trauma. Awesome.

Fast forward.

It’s Saturday, the second to last night of high school camp. The pain has gotten worse each day since the accident.  We finish our first set of songs and I’m in a pretty overwhelming amount of pain. I’ve always felt like I had a pretty high threshold for pain, but at this point I was sure it was too intense to play the final set. We got back up and I made it through the first song and most of the second. The pain was so intense at this point that my body just stopped working. My legs buckled and I hit my knees. Curled up into a ball and weeping from the immense pain, I knew I couldn’t go any further.

The students and band continued to worship. One of our students came and put one hand on my back. The other, he lifted in the air while he continued to worship. A moment later, it happened. The immense pain was replaced by the immense weight of the Spirit of God in the room.  All at once, the students, adults, and band began to hit their knees. There was worship, then quiet reverence. Nobody moved. Nobody left. Over two hundred of us sat there, enjoying the presence of the Spirit, some for the first time.

It was in this quiet reverence that He whispered something to my Spirit: “I don’t need you to be ‘on your game’. I don’t need you to play the right chords or sing the right notes. I don’t need you to pick the right songs. I don’t need your talent. I don’t need your skills. I need you to say ‘yes’ to Me.”

I broke.

Too often, as a worship leader, I’ve tried to create this moment. I’ve tried to create it with the perfect song or the perfect set list. I’ve tried to create it within the confines of my own skills and abilities. Wow, what a small box to ask God to operate in.


I have already forgotten the pain I experienced that night. However, I haven’t forgotten the weakness I felt. I don’t ever want to.  In my most profound weakness He showed me His incredible strength. It is an experience I will never forget.

God, continue to show me my weakness. Continue to teach me to surrender to You. Help me to say yes to You. Help me move out of Your way.


coming down from the mountain

I just returned from close to 16 days of nothing but summer camp. It was an amazing time, and many students not only came to know Jesus for the first time, but also learned how to worship for the first time. What a blessing to be there and see their faces light up for Jesus.

Camp is a huge mountain top experience for me, and I’m sure you have your own, be it a CD project, an Easter program, or anything else monumental on your desk.  I have learned that after coming down from the mountain I tend to be not just tired, but drained emotionally as well.  The influence of being drained emotionally shouldn’t be underestimated – it can be a slightly unpleasant filter that we see everything through. Here’s what I’ve learned from coming down from the mountain:

1) Don’t contemplate huge life decisions.

When I am every kind of tired, I find myself pondering life, work, and everything under the sun. I don’t know why that is, but it happens like clockwork every year about this time. If I am not firing on all cylinders, I have found it’s not a good time to obsess about big decisions or life changes.

2) Don’t panic.

Any time I finish a big project with great success, I tend to panic.  Without something huge to work on that says “look at me, I am working hard and doing a great job” in flashing lights, I tend to worry that I will look and feel like I’m being lazy and fading into the background.  We all have our high times in ministry, and sometimes we forget that it’s not that we’re being slackers, we’re just not giving 300% at the moment – we’re back to our normal close to 100%.

3) Don’t freeze up, keep moving.

There is always something on the horizon, and I have to celebrate the mountain experience, but also move on. I can think of 3-4 really big projects on my desk right now that have the potential to be just as amazing as far as mountain experiences go.  I may be tired and feel a sense of accomplishment, but there is much work yet to be done, and always will be until Jesus comes back.


it’s my most wonderful time of the year: summer

I know I promised part 3 of “training up the next generation,” but since it’s summer camp season, I thought I might interject some timely thoughts. Don’t worry, I will pick up with part 3 soon.

I am right in the middle of my busiest season – prepping to lead worship for summer camps and Vacation Bible School, all of which happen within 2 months. It is the most rewarding yet grueling time of year – so many logistics, so many cogs in the machine. Paperwork, endless set lists, entering lyrics for media folks, figuring out transportation, charts, rehearsals, making sure you have gear lined up and players ready to go, reminding your boys to pack deodorant, and troubleshooting all kinds of things. The funny thing is, once I actually get to camp, or start VBS, that’s the easy part. It’s the getting there that is so taxing. I’m in the window right now where you kind of work odd hours all day and night until things are as close to done as possible.

Whether it’s camp or any other huge event you are prepping to lead worship for, remember 3 things:
1) Don’t get surprised every year when the enemy attacks
2) Keep your eyes on Jesus, stay in worship, and the enemy will flee
3) Remember your team is watching you and following your lead

I am sure the first 2 are familiar to you and need no explanation, but let me share what I’m convicted about concerning the 3rd point.

Several years ago I was having a rough night on stage during sound check, and at the end of the night one of our sound guys said “wow, you looked like you were really ticked at us!” I didn’t even have any idea I had let it show that much. No wonder they were tense – I was leading, and they were following!

My band members and even our tech crews and media teams will always pick up on the vibe I am giving and follow my lead. If I appear panicked, stressed, rattled – especially on stage – it is infectious. So when our truck breaks down on the road, or we bust through a kick drum head, or our kazoo player misses rehearsal at camp because he slept in – no matter what, big or small, all eyes are on me. I am going to be leading them no matter what. If I can stay in an attitude of worship when things get a little tough, I am actually modeling and leading what a life of worship looks like. That doesn’t mean I never get frustrated, but I have to strive for a “spiritual override” that rises above it all.

…..Even when your truck breaks down on the way to camp, and then you get the new truck and have to move all of the gear over which takes 2 hours, and then THAT new truck breaks down….and then the guy driving the new truck that finally gets you there accidentally runs into a really huge tree as you are trying to load-in in the middle of the night, and it falls over and takes out half of the parking lot… and then the truck you rent for the drive home at the end of the week breaks down too. True story. And I hope right now you are recalling some of your own stories and laughing a little as well.

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