How Renewal Happens

renewalOne of my fondest memories of college occured in late fall/ early winter of my sophomore year. This was my second year in our school’s traveling men’s choir, and we happened to be in the midst of a tour in Northern Indiana. This choir (Testament Men’s Choir) was one that traveled around the midwest singing in churches for ther worship services. We were used to singing in large venues and very small ones. No matter what the size, every one of us truly loved what we were doing, and felt God had called us to use the voices He gave us for the glory of the kingdom. Despite our love for what we were doing, sometimes it became a monotonous task to sing the same songs and go through the same routine. This tour turned out to be different…

In Northern Indiana, when we were inbetween performances, we decided to take an excursion to the local mall. Christmas marketing was in full swing and every square inch of the mall reflected this fact. Our song set for choir also reflected the season with the necessary songs to celebrate the birth of Christ. We had the songs memorized almost to boredom, and because of the frequency of how often we sang these tunes, many of us hummed them without even knowing it.

As we formed into clumps of people and scattered throughout the mall to do some shopping, God began to stir something in the hearts of most of the guys. As a few of us were walking around in one of the clothing stores we began to hum one of our tunes called, “In the First Light”. This musical infection started with a couple of the men who were really singing it to give into the fact that is was burrowing in their brain. Then, as the other members heard, they began to join in using their assigned harmonies.

We were not really paying attention to the people around us at first, and after a few lines, we looked up and the staff of this particular clothing store had stopped what they were doing to listen. Tears were coming down the cashier’s face and this started a conversation about what we were doing in town. The patrons and workers were excited that we were singers and wanted to hear more… This gave us an idea.

The small group split up to collect as many of the guys throughout the mall as possible. Our idea was to gather the full group and meet in front of this store to give the workers an impromptu show, and make them smile at the very least. Oddly enough, right outside this store was a piano that the mall often used to randomly entertain patrons with carols and such. We decided to highjack it for our purpose. We also were able to collect nearly every member of the choir for this show.

We began to sing. We had never been so into what we were singing and the harmony poured out like never before…As we sang, people from all over the mall gathered to listen. People were crying, many had their eyes closed in reflection, and some even had out their cell phones recording the event. We never thought anyone would notice, but it moved people unexpectedly. People were drawn to the event. We had a blast!

Here is the point…I think, as the Church, we get the wrong idea about how God moves. We think that we have to set the perfect mood, and make a pursuasive case for belief. What we often forget is that there is something terribly attractive about the concept of God’s people worshiping Him with passion. God will draw people to Him when His people praise. This is how renewal happens. A spark…then a fire.

Trust God today.

-Landon DeCrastos

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