Sunday was a day I won’t soon forget.
As music director, it’s my responsibility to keep things rolling smoothly at church on a weekly basis, and to make corrections when necessary. I’ll contact the worship leader the week before if anything in the song list or the the musical lineup needs tweaking. I try to head any problems off at the pass, but this particular weekend was crazy.
Our drummer was driving down from East Nashville to be with us at our Spring Hill location–about a 45-minute drive. I usually leave my house at 6:50 AM to be on stage by 7:00 (oh, the blessing of living near my church!). The musicians started arriving and began setting up. I noticed our drummer wasn’t there, and it was 7:10. Then 7:20 came; I started to get concerned.
My brother Jon and his family were in town from Birmingham, Alabama, for a visit. I had just said “good morning” to him as he was doing his quiet time. Collecting my things before leaving, I mentioned how cool it would be for him to play drums with our worship band sometime, and that it would be like old times when we traveled the country and the world together thirty years ago as musicians. (I am reluctant to ask him to play because, when he comes to my place, he’s looking for a break from his own weekend responsibilities as drummer for his church’s worship band).
The hands on my watch showed 7:30. Oh crap–we’ve got a problem! I needed to somehow locate the missing drummer and started plotting what to do if he couldn’t make it. I was concerned that he had an accident, slept in, or had mistakenly showed up at our Franklin campus. I couldn’t find a phone number for the drummer and didn’t see any texts or messages from him on my phone. So, it was up to me to find a solution to the eminent catastrophe brewing on the horizon: no drums for the two services that were only a little over an hour away.
I called my brother when he was still sitting alone doing devotions. He was surprised that we needed a drummer–especially since we talked about it a short while before. He hesitated for a moment before saying, “I’ll be there!” He made it within 15 minutes, we rehearsed, and he did a killer job both services.
In my career, I’ve learned that anything can happen, anytime, like the time Jon’s drums never showed up at a gig we flew to in Houston. After a bit of an emotional and an equipment adjustment, Jon improvised and played the whole gig on just a snare drum–the only piece of gear we were able to scrape up. We probably played one of our best shows that night.
It’s convenient when my brother, a drummer, is staying at my place, five minutes from church when I need him. But most of the time, it seems that options are few and time is limited when problems arise.
I later learned that our original drummer had blown a tire on the interstate. He didn’t have my phone number to make a call. I was relieved to hear that he had the tire repaired, and since we were already starting the second service by that time he was set to go, he just headed back home.
I thank God for turning a disaster into a heart-affirming opportunity for my brother. It was also a chance to reunite with him after a 15-year gap between playing together. And most of all, the church didn’t even know the difference–maybe it was one of the best worship sets we’ve done.
Sometimes the pressure helps to step up our game. I hope we don’t see another one of those “growth opportunities” for a while…I’m still reeling from the bullet that just missed us!