Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Guest blogger, Cami Tang

Please welcome my friend, author and guest blogger, Cami Tang.

The mystery of worship

Worship is such an intimate thing. It's very hard for me to describe it, even though I've been a worship music leader at my church for several years.

Originally, when I had just started working with the youth group as a staff member, my youth pastor asked me to lead music for the youth group meetings on Saturday nights. The junior high and high school kids aren't very picky, and so I didn't worry about missed notes, forgotten lyrics, etc.

One time, we had problems with the projector and couldn't get the lyrics up on the screen, so we did the entire set without them! The kids just kind of mouthed words and looked a little confused, but they didn’t really mind.

However, a few months later, the youth pastor wanted me to put together an all-youth worship team to lead music for Sunday service. He wanted to give the kids a chance to serve the church in this way, and there was an opening for an additional worship team.

This made me more nervous. The people in Sunday service tend to be more discriminating, and more vocal if they don't like something. Teens aren't known for being on time for practices, or even for Sunday service. They're not known for playing completely accurately if they're not taking something seriously. They're also not known for really valuing the opportunity to serve at church, even though the youth staff tries to help them to understand why it's important.

But, my pastor had asked. So I gave it a go.

The kids stepped up to the plate in ways I would never have dreamed. They came to practice on time. They made an effort to be serious about their playing and not goofing off. And they seemed to understand why it was important for them to be there, playing on the worship team.

Most important, they started to understand how to worship.

No just standing and singing words, but in being a worship leader. In worshipping themselves as they played or sang. In thinking about God or the congregation and not themselves.

I have to admit, they were helped along by some very key youth retreats that happened around the time the worship team started doing a turn at Sunday service (my church has four worship teams, and we each take one service a month). The youth retreats focused on true worship, and the kids on my team took the messages to heart.

But I didn't expect to be affected by their new attitudes. I had taken on the job like a youth staff worker leading a small group, but then I started to realize that I was a worship leader and a worshipper myself. It changed my whole conception of what worship was, of how to worship.

I wanted to infuse part of that mystery of worship in my writing. I was able to write a few key scenes in ONLY UNI that tried to convey the kinds of things I feel when I worship the Lord. Trish's experience is a mix of my experience and the experience of the teens on my worship team.

I hope Trish can influence other people, too, to seek the mystery of worship of our Lord.

Camy Tang is the loud Asian chick who writes loud Asian chick lit.

She used to be a biologist, but now she is a staff worker for her church youth group and leads a worship team for Sunday service.

She also runs the Story Sensei fiction critique service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels every Monday and Thursday, and she ponders frivolous things like dumb dogs (namely, hers), coffee-geek husbands (no resemblance to her own...), the writing journey, Asiana, and anything else that comes to mind.

Visit her website a www.camytang.com for a huge website contest going on right now, giving away five boxes of books and 25 copies of her latest release, ONLY UNI.

1 comment:

Camy Tang said...

Thanks for having me here, Rachel!