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Leading Worship for the BGCT Family Gathering

Members of FBC Weslaco Praise team leading worship at the BGCT Family Gathering (with the Espinosa Family from San Antonio): Rachel Lovestrand (vocals/tamborine), Dahlia Rodriguez (vocals), Gavin Audagnotti (bass), Raymond Sanchez (Keys/Sax/Vocals) Victor Garcia (Acoustic Guitar), Ben Noriega (Violin/Vocals), David Espinosa (drums), Fabian Espinosa (keys/Vocals), and Felipe Espinosa (electric guitar) - July 31, 2019

When I was asked to lead worship at the Family Gathering for 2018, I said yes. Then all the thoughts of my inadequacies began creeping in. "There are going to be a lot of people there," I thought. I began looking up the other groups who were also leading there and wondered how I stacked up. I didn't! One group had an amazing director/worship leader/composer and had just released a CD - a very good one! Another group that was leading was going to have a choir and an orchestra that was surely going to have a big impact on the Baptist crowd gathered for worship in Arlington.

Why did I agree to do this? I guess there is a part of me that thinks I'm a good enough musician and worship leader to do something like this. You might find this hard to believe, but I am a pastor with a bit of an egotistical side. But I'm also a trained musician who is reminded weekly (on our church's youtube site) of my musical shortcomings. But in those same services, I get to worship with people in our familia of faith from different generations, different backgrounds, and even different languages. Even with our less-than-technically-superb musicianship, we worship. God is honored. Lives are transformed.

There is this weird paradox worship leaders face: we know we need to work hard to play and sing skillfully to God (Psalm 33) and to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice (Romans 12); yet, it is God who has done the great and mighty works we sing about and, if I have any gifts in leading His people in worship, they were given by Him! It is a very Calvin-Armenian tension in what we do as leaders. God is there when we do well. God is there when we fall short. It's not really about us, it's about God.

When we lead, we should be pointing to God and God’s story in such a way that we remind all that He is truly great and we are truly small. You can be a great singer, player, musician, and even great song leader, but you will fall short as a worship leader if you put anything ahead of God in your personal life and corporate worship. And even then, God has blessed people I have worshiped with even when I was not putting Him first! It truly is a God-thing and not a me thing - even though God is calling me as a co-laborer into his story.

I wrestled with this great/small, me/Him dilemma here and there as I prepared for the Family Gathering. But I found great comfort in the thought that God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness (2 Cor 12:9). So let me boast in Him...we had a WONDERFUL time of worship at the BGCT. Singing a mix of English and Spanish, hymns and contemporary music, using electronic instruments, stringed instruments, wind instruments and drums, we did God’s Story. It was his story, not ours, that we celebrated! And in Christ we are able to boast! To Him be all the glory for ever and ever, Amen!

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