Recognize anyone in this photo?

I didn’t, not at first.

But on second glance, middle row, far left, I found him. Robert Griffin III, or better known as RGIII, Baylor University football legend, 2011 Heisman Trophy Winner, and now starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins.

Singing and moving, clapping and worshiping God in a youth choir … maybe ten years ago.

When RG posted this on Facebook a couple of days ago, his caption read, “Many Sundays ago, praising the Lord.”

I love this pic! (Okay, part of it is that I have the highest respect for Robert Griffin as a person, as an athlete, and as a sibling in Christ.)

But look at his eyes, the concentration and focus. Game face on. See his hands, already growing large to accommodate the footballs he will carry, pass, and hand off to teammates, hands already perfect for issuing the high-fives he will offer his friends, encouraging them and congratulating them on thousands of coming occasions, both athletic and non-athletic. Check out the treble clef near his left shoulder, yes, near the heart!

A good youth choir experience is life-changing and enriching for anyone who participates, including professional athletes, attorneys, teachers, movie actors, parents, grandparents, stock brokers, stay-at-home moms. I believe that whatever a person strives to do in life, she or he will be better at it after experiencing a great youth choir program. Over the decades, I’ve seen too many real-life stories not to believe it … stories similar to that of RGIII and countless others: some famous, some ultra-successful and, most, “ordinary” citizens.

And for some teenagers (many now adults), it makes all the difference as they struggle through adolescence and finally make it to adulthood. The stories are in the tens of thousands, likely more. The power of participating in a choir, singing scripture, leading in worship, sharing in ministry, cannot be measured in megatons or on the Richter Scale. It shakes the world and shapes our culture.

This is why, after 23 years, YouthCUE is even more committed to the task than we were when we began in 1990. So much is at stake. So many lives will be moved and touched, sustained and enriched, fortified and focused. For some, it actually saves their physical lives, not to mention the effect on eternity in heaven’s eyes. 

Thanks, RG, for reminding us again!