I’m unashamedly, unabashedly, deeply in love with a television show called, Friday Night Lights. Before you get to questioning, you should know this about me. I don’t watch TV just to watch TV. If it’s going to be on, it’s got to be for a good reason. My mom can tell you all about this. If I’m over at the parent’s house and the television is on without anyone paying it real attention, I turn it off. That noise gets to me. My habit of turning the television gets to my mom.
All this to say that Friday Night Lights is probably the best reason you could ever turn on your television. It’s beautiful and brilliant. Without a doubt, it’s the best portrayal of a solid, sweet marriage that I’ve EVER seen…big screen or small. The writing is incredible, the acting is impeccable, the storyline is immaculate. You couldn’t ask for more.
But the thing I love most about the show is the head coach of the football team, the main man, Eric Taylor. After every episode, I find myself looking my wife dead in the eyes, saying with utmost sincerity, “honey…I think I’m gonna be a football coach.” To which she sighs and smiles. She gets the joke, but she also sees the truth. Of course I’ll never coach football. Never played. But I love to see the way this man deals with the younger men on his team. I love to see how Coach Taylor fully invests and pours into these high school boys that find themselves lost, insecure, hopeless and hurting. I love to see him poking and prodding and lifting up and loving on these guys. He brings the most out of them. His character is authentic, sincere, and real…and it gets me every time. Let’s just say I’ve gotten better about not crying at every episode.
Every once in a while, I find myself up at night in bed staring at the ceiling and wondering what my future in ministry or elsewhere looks like. I begin to question my gifting and calling. Quietly. Earnestly. Searchingly.
I then ask myself one simple question, “More than anything else, what kind of impact would you like to make with the work that you do?” And the answer is never far away. In fact, it’s so near it usually allows me to close my eyes and rest peacefully without any more wandering and wondering.
More than anything else, I want to affect young men. I want to have a positive effect on them. I want to push them in some small or big way towards being men after God’s own heart. I want to “coach” them.
One pretty awesome way I get to do this on a regular basis is by bringing along young worship leaders. As passionate as I am about leading worship, I’m even more passionate about leading other folks into being worship leaders themselves. It is a beautiful, wonderful thing to watch somewhat reserved young men slowly blossom into full-on authentic, sincere, real worship leaders. There is a sense of authority and empowerment that comes with the privilege of leading others into a time and place where they can connect with Christ. I love to see these guys feel that sense of leadership, to really taste using their unique gifts for God’s glory. I was reminded of all of this last night.
One of the guys who originally played lead guitar for our student-led worship band recently began to have a desire for more of an up-front leadership role. He wanted the microphone. For a while there, he just sang kinda quietly in the background while his good friend really led. But over time, he began to lead a song on his own here or there. After several more months, he mentioned that he could even lead on his own sometime. So of course I gave him the opportunity. And he did great. Even with all of the timidity and nerves that come with going solo, he was wonderful to watch. All because he led with those three great qualities: he was authentic, sincere, real. That stuff is contagious.
Well last night, this young man full-on led for the first time in front of his own peers. The first two songs were absolutely perfect for our kick-off night of the new school year. Tons of energy with blaring guitars and kids singing right along. When we got to song number three though, there was a hiccup. It all started out great. The guys had come up with a pretty sweet intro, but when it was time to actually sing, our guy couldn’t remember how the melody of the lyrics went. It just escaped him. I’ve been there. Never fun.
Instead of shying away though, he laughed and called himself out, and started the song over. Take 2. Great intro again. Time for singing. And…again. Couldn’t remember the melody. Take 3. Again. Not working. He then takes the song sheet and tosses it on the ground. Move on to the next song. But after a 5-second pause, he picks the sheet back up and plays the chorus. He remembers how that goes. He’s somehow won over everyone thru all of this. They’re all loving the moment, laughing and smiling and singing. The whole scene was made for TV. Take that FNL.
And then the time of worship ended with him leading us in prayer and then earnestly and effortlessly shifting gears into leading us all in one more song. And wouldn’t you know it would be this song? The one I just wrote about. The one that I love because it speaks of His Love with such brokenness and beauty.