Regret is a weird thing, especially for people in ministry.
Most of us would probably jump at the chance to travel back in time to find our much-younger-worship-leading-selves and save them from all the pain and heartache headed their way.
But then...aren't all those mistakes the things that made us grow and get better at serving our calling? It's tricky. It's not a bad exercise, though, to think about what you wish you have known. So here are 5 things I wish I could tell young Todd Wright as he started on his worship leading journey.
5. SING HYMNS
You knew I was gonna' say that one, didn't you? My younger self was all about the new stuff. Hymns were well and good, but we were looking for the new, fresh expressions of the faith. I know my younger self pretty well, and I can tell you the "these are theologically sound" argument wouldn't have worked on him. (He was too dumb for that.) But if I could get his attention, I'd make it very clear: PEOPLE SING HYMNS. If you want people to sing along, sing hymns. Plain and simple, they're written for congregational singing.
4. PEOPLE WILL DISAPPOINT YOU
I wish my younger self understood that musicians will be weird and flake out to other churches. Congregants will be be mean. Preachers and administrators won't always be respectful. Young Todd loved making music so much that it confounded by people who would choose to leave or take shots at him.
3. LET OTHERS LEAD
The younger me thought he was GOOD. (Actually, the younger me thought he was THE BEST.) The problem is that when you have an exaggerated sense of yourself, you're very reticent to hand over the reins from time-to-time. I think younger man quickly forgot that the way to get good at something is to do it a lot. So many people gave me opportunities to lead even when they knew they could do it better. I wish younger me would have stepped aside some.
2. RELEASE LOTS OF MUSIC
I love songwriting and always have. And I do believe God's gifted me to write songs that are specifically targeted at corporate worship. Because those skills were evidence even way back when, I'd tell the me-from-history to release as much music as possible. Back then, I was worried about perfection. I was concerned with public opinion. I'd tell myself that if a song is worth singing in a church building, it's worth sharing with the world.
1. DON'T BE AFRAID TO FIGHT
Young Todd avoided confrontation. (Old Todd doesn't like it too much either, btw.) I'd go back and tell myself to get in the mix more. Learning how to hold my own in tough conversations would have made a huge impact in my ministry back then. I think I'd tell myself that engaging in those discussions always ends up for the best. Hiding from confrontation only makes things worse.
*Okay, your turn. What are FIVE THINGS you'd tell the younger you? What do wish that kid knew about worship leading back then?