A reflection on my work. . .
I have been working in churches now for about 36 years and rarely have I seen it where people come to church and speak their deepest life concerns and issues. Sure there are many churches with small groups where people can "Get Real" but in the gathering time or worship service it is rare, in my experience, that people's anger, depression, fear, sense of inadequacy is truly met. Oh, the preacher may preach about those things, but the rest of the service goes on almost removed from the human dramas that are happening in the room. What I know about my work is that I am called to do something else in the churches. I am called to tell the stories of people and their real lives, to bring a group of folks together in an experience of mutual discovery. I hear it over and over again from people who tell me what happened in a concert or service where I have sung.
Please know that I don't take this gift and calling for granted nor do I have any sense that I deserve to be given this gift, but it is there. It has become a real concern to me that many churches truly need hope and encouragement these days. People are weary, worried, angry, and wondering what their faith has to do with their present circumstances. I really believe that when we tell our stories to each other and when those stories are sung in the common gathering, there is comfort and some kind of renewal that can happen.
Does it sound self-serving for me to say that I want to have the chance to be in more and more churches to do this work? I know that money is incredibly tight for churches as it is for everybody and that is a great part of the frustration here. I know that I have something to offer and I want to offer it. I also know that I have to try to survive in the process and that many churches who would like to have this kind of special experience feel that it is impossible now.
For all these reasons, I am asking my friends and supporters to help me dream, to pray, to share any ideas you may have that would help me and Brier Patch Music think and move outside the box, as it were, to do what I know we are called and gifted to do.
Let there be music ringing in the air, through the tears, in our hearts, on our lips, all the day and night long.