Once upon a time, I was a youth pastor. My youth and I were at a summer camp where we spent the day in the community doing service projects, and then gathered in the evenings for dinner and then a big worship gathering – a few hundred kids in a big auditorium, rock band, preacher – the whole nine yards.
One night, with about five minutes until we began, the room was pretty much full – a few stragglers still making their way, no doubt, but it was a full room. I got my students’ attention and said, on my mark, let’s do a countdown! There we are, packed auditorium, easily five minutes before we start. And on my mark, we start shouting a countdown from ten.
By “EIGHT!” several rows around us had joined in.
“SIX” I kid you not – the whole room was shouting now.
At “FIVE!” I saw the band – who had been either milling around backstage or down talking with people in the crowd, sprinting to their positions, looks of panic on their faces.
Uh… uh oh…
“FOUR!” Yeah… there is definitely no stopping this now…
“THREE!” The drummer dived into his drum cage. Guitar players throwing their instruments on and grabbing for cords to plug in.
“TWO!” The worship leader stepped to the microphone. His smile only looked fake if you were paying attention.
“ONE!” A huge cheer erupted from the crowd.
And on the ZERO beat, the band kicked in.
And that’s how my youth group made the gathering start five minutes early. While everyone else was cheering at the top of their lungs, my kids were laughing and high-fiving each other (and one of my adult leaders was shaking her head and rolling her eyes.
They couldn’t believe what they had done. Just a bunch of kids, but they had taken control of the whole evening. There was a whole system – from the camp director to the preacher and worship team. And with just a silly joke, they had seized the reins and decided when to begin.
They had a lot more power than they realized!
Let’s talk about power, and about the reality that power is a gift God gives to all of us. There’s a whole genre of Scripture that guides us in how to use that power for good – to advocate for God’s way in the world, to be God’s people in the world.