November 12, 2018
Last week I was looking through some older blog posts I’d written while working for Our Daily Bread Ministries and I stumbled across this one. It’s dated 2/22/2012. It brought a smile to my face. I hope it blesses you as well.
A couple of months ago my oldest son was one of the 88 middle school students chosen from among the region’s 40 schools to play in an honors band.
It really was quite astounding how good the kids performed after only three practices. But what caught my attention, even more than the proficiency of these 88 eighth-graders was their conductor, Mr. Max Colley. This particular gentleman had been a high school band director for nearly four decades, yet his energy and connectability with the kids was superb. Three things were clearly evident:
- Mr. Colley loves kids.
- He was an accomplished musician.
- His vision for the band was clear and focused.
I watched with rapt attention as he led the students through the music. I was moved to tears as this group of middle schoolers brought the beauty of the score to life on the day of the concert.
One particular piece caught my attention. It was actually a piece that had been arranged for a high school honors band, but Mr. Colley wanted these eighth graders to attempt it. As the band rehearsed this demanding piece, he simultaneously taught, corrected, challenged, and encouraged the students.
He was kind but demanding. And the kids responded to the challenge. Band and conductor labored together to lift the musical notations off the page and bring them to life in beautiful musical language.
As I watched this interplay, I was reminded of the work God has called me to. Pastoral ministry is not so different from conducting a band. We too are called to simultaneously teach, correct, challenge, and encourage God’s people. As we attempt to bring to life that which causes our heavenly Father to smile.
Nearly four years after this piece was written (2/1/2016) I became one of Max Colley’s pastors. But more than that, over the past three years he has become my dear friend. And that eighth-grade boy? He’s now a Jr. at Grand Valley State University—studying music education. He wants to be a band director.
Keep vigilant. You never know who is watching. You never know who you’re impacting.