You Are Enough

by Jan 2, 2017Singing from the Heart1 comment

As a church youth choir director, I struggle with balancing the two large jobs of teaching (mostly) untrained singers how to produce beautiful sounds and making disciples of Christ for the transformation of the world.

There is often not enough time in the rehearsal to learn all of the music and pay attention to discipleship. At least that is what I used to think. Recently, we had a wonderful Sunday morning where we confirmed 54 youth. Our Director of Youth Ministry delivered the sermon. Our large youth choir provided the anthem.

It was a great day, but at the end of the day, I was down. It could have easily been exhaustion, but I was really feeling bad about my part in the day.

Good youth music ministry people often struggle with this. I want to be more to these youth. I want to offer peace and grace and sit with them over coffee. Instead, I have to be the “vowel” instructor. The “cut-off” Nazi. Instead of helping students with problems they are having at school, I have to spend the little time I have with them beating notes out of thin air.

Explaining why we sing in Latin (sometimes). Or Swahili.

I have to fuss at altos for talking (why is it always the altos?), and remind seventh grade “tenors” that they are “welcome” to sing the soprano line. I have to cram so much into one rehearsal that I am usually still shouting instructions as they leave the room.

“Don’t forget to be here at 9:00 Sunday and wear black pants and don’t forget your folders and please register for choir tour!”

Then, I got a sign. With all of this on my mind, I walked into the sanctuary the morning after Confirmation. It was early and the large room was fairly dark. I did not go there to pray – it’s just the way I go to my office. As I entered, I saw a beautiful shaft of light from one of the windows. Just this solitary beam cutting into the dark room. And that lovely beam was shining on one thing. A solitary, simple, black music stand sitting at the base of the pulpit. You know the one. In all of our updated modern technology, that basic music stand has never changed. It looks just like the one my youth choir director used, and I am certain it is the same one that his youth choir director used.

This is what I heard: “You are enough. What you are doing is enough. Who you are to these kids, it’s enough. Your part is exactly where I want you and It. Is. Enough. You are offering grace and peace and love every time you teach my children about me through music that you offer from that stand, and through the way you offer yourself as you stand behind it. Rejoice! You are doing my work and I love you.”

I also heard, “Now stop feeling sorry for yourself and get back to work.”

I am grateful for both of these messages.

May you all find comfort and peace in the most joyous season of the church that is upon us!

Happy Advent and Merry Christmas!

Keep up the awesome work!

1 Comment

  1. Kathy Culpepper

    YOU. ARE. ENOUGH. I love you and I loved this writing. I think you are terrific and I wish I could take choir from you.

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Janis Maxwell

Janis Maxwell

CUEnotes Contributor, Director of Youth Music Ministry, FUMC Athens, GA

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