Why I Am Going to Africa: Social Justice, Worship Leading & WorshipMythBusters.com

This was originally posted on RKWeblog.com today.

I was a younger man, at about 24 years. This small church I served with a small stipend as their worship leader tasked me with a Christmas program with a worship team and choir. The newspaper printed a story about the empty food banks and how the recession had hit people hard. Yes, the last recession had hurting people, too.

Then it struck me. Why not ask our members and the friends they bring to help us fill up bins of food for this food bank! After all, we are called to feed of the poor and instead of using tickets to get in any kid could grab a can of tomatoes from her parent’s cupboard. No planning was needed other than bringing basic food items.

Then came the conversation with the pastor of that church.

I shared my plan. “Pastor, here is my idea. All the food banks are hurting. This particular one was hit the worst. So, let’s give something to them beyond just putting on a traditional Christmas pageant.”

He replied in an instant, “Rich, that’s what liberal churches do. And, this food bank is not openly Christian.”

I was dumbfounded. All I knew was this seemed like a great opportunity to be Jesus. What I was hearing made no sense. Today, it still does not. In fact, being “liberal” was a fear I now know some really are concerned about. The very kind and generous pastor I served simply missed the point, however.

For years I have had amazing opportunities to go overseas on trips. Almost every time I heard “no” to going because I am the worship leader. I could not leave my post! Again, those several instances I was equally dumbfounded by and left discouraged. Some of these were fully funded, too! Thank God, there was one church I served that even required I go and serve in missions every few years.

Serving the greater body of Christ and going to reach and touch the least of these with Jesus is what we should all be about. The gospel is lived and shared. As a worship leader, it seems those a bit younger than I have not had to endure some of the same pain, but yes it is hard to get away. Our role is local. Or is it? Our role is for our church members. Or is it?

Should not those of us who help provide an environment to meet God each week and seek after the heart of God lead in the areas of God’s heart? Yes. God loves people! It is not about the stage of the church building, it is about the heart of God. Most every worship leader I know has a heart for social justice. But, what do we do with that?

In 2010 at the recreate conference I met a young pastor from Ohio who had this glimmer in his eye as he told me about what he and his wife are doing in missions. Daniel Clark is a missionary, pastor and worship leader. He had this crazy but amazing idea that worship leaders like myself need to lead and be involved social justice. He is, after all. And, the platform of WorshipMythBusters.com seemed like a place where this conversation could be explored.

So, after coaxing from Daniel and prayer and the support of my very mission’s minded pastor, Guy Fox, I am leaving for Africa to learn, interact and serve Daniel and doma International in Ethiopia where their new clinic will help pregnant mothers and their children. I leave April 25 for ten days.

I really would love for you to consider supporting this endeavor financially and to spread the word about this conversation with worship leaders and creatives. Are you in?

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