Sunday evening we had a guest preacher. This evening the sound system was run by a fourteen-year-old boy, a member of the congregation. We often have teens run the sound system and, while this particular boy is one of the younger ones doing it, he usually does a fine job. But tonight when the pastor started the service started his microphone didn’t work. During the first song the boy went to see if the pastor had the microphone on and changed the battery. No luck. We still didn’t have amplification. The boy was getting stressed. With some adult guidance during the next song, he brought a new microphone up to the pastor and this time the microphone worked.
After church my husband and I had a chance to reflect on this event. It seems pretty clear that if we ask a fourteen-year-old teen to run the sound equipment, we should expect that there will be times like these. He is learning how to run the equipment. Most of the people in the pew couldn’t help him because they lacked the knowledge he had. But it also isn’t like he is a stranger to us – he’s one of our kids. So even though we prefer to never think about the sound system we also know that he is one of our congregation and we need to give him the time he needs to learn on the job.
But that’s the beauty of being part of a congregation. We want to give our best is worship and this teen is part of “us.” He can help actively participate in the life of the church in a couple of ways and this is one of them. We are a better church, I think, because we have given him the chance to serve. If we have less than perfect services then this is a small price to pay for gladly accepting the gifts of the members of our congregation. And as a bonus, the adult who helped him wasn’t his parent – it was another member of the congregation who talked him through fixing the problem (while we were singing a song – there wasn’t a lot of time without amplification.) This interaction was another example of how we as adults can mentor our kids into service in the church.
I would suggest that our worship services would not be as good if we did not allow our members to learn as they do things. I’m not suggesting poor quality – I’m saying that we want to let many people use their gifts – including children and teens – and we want to support them so they do well. That also means that sometimes it will be less than perfect. I think that’s just the way it’s supposed to be.
How does your congregation support kids and teens in teaching them to use their gifts?