January 01, 2014

By Mark Roach

Well, here it is. 2014. Another year in the books. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably still a bit out of breath from the Christmas season. If you’re anything like me, you’re thankful that Easter is at least in April this year, and simultaneously painfully aware of how busy your life is going to get again soon. If you’re anything like me, you have elation, reverence and sorrow flowing mingled down during these ‘busy’ seasons. You want desperately to be able to find deep, meaningful time and energy for God during the holidays—not to mention your family—but also recognize the calling on your life to minister. If you’re anything like me, you are energized—and, if you’re honest, also completely drained—by this calling and 2014 is already starting to bury you in meetings, tasks, prep and pre-prep for the exciting ministry that lies ahead.
    
That’s if you’re anything like me, of course. And whether the above description sounds like a lot like you or not, I am confident that each and every one of us needs to hear what I’m about to say: Thank you. 
    
You are a child of God...and not only are you a child of God, you have received and responded to a calling—a noble calling—to serve his church. You may serve this calling with a guitar and microphone, and maybe with lights and a huge sound system. Your ‘sound system’ may be the church pipe organ. You may be a song leader at a traditional church. Some of you are volunteers and you’ve never even been paid for your leadership in the church. You may have been around for 20, 30, 40+ years or this may have been the first Christmas you’ve ever led/served. Your choir, your band, your accompanist, your congregation… they appreciate all you do but they don’t live inside your headspace. They don’t know what it takes to do what you do—not just from a skill standpoint, but also from an emotional and spiritual standpoint. 
    
God knows. He cares. He values not only what you’ve done for Him, but who you’ve grown to be in Him! If you’re anything like me, you need to hear that! And the best news? It’s actually true! It’s not lip service or politically charged, and it’s not out of pity. It comes from His perfect love. What you do for the Kingdom has value beyond your imagination, and God is so excited you said ‘yes’ to Him when He asked you to help. He doesn’t care if your church is big, small, tall, grande or venti. He doesn’t care if you have drummers and horn players or if half the congregation makes up your 8-voice choir. He listens to all styles of worship, INCLUDING yours, and He loves you dearly for serving His people—and what you do is fun, but it is sacrificial and it is serving and He knows that! 
    
So, that’s all. Thank you for 2013. Thanks for the hard work, the headaches, the sacrifices… each of yours looks a little different than everyone else’s. Thanks for the heart, the beauty, the truth that you share, and sometimes just aspire to share, never attaining artistically what you chased. Thanks for being you, and for doing and leading others to do what all of us were made to do: worship. Have an amazing 2014. I’ll be alongside you all in the trenches!

Mark Roach in the Worship Arts Director at Morning Star United Methodist Church in O’Fallon. If you have questions for Mark, email him at mark.roach@mscwired.org.