Not having a worship leader on the staff team for 801South has been a bummer in many ways. The burden of scheduling and arranging other typical logistics that would be easily handled by an experienced worship leader fall primarily on our tech director (and somewhat on myself). This redirects our energy, time, and focus away from further developing the Tech team. Handling these needs also hinder our ability to live into a rhythm in which we are dreaming about the creative potential of the 801South worship experience. We are hustling every single day to find the one who will serve God and lead us as the 801South worship leader.
But there has been one incredibly enriching benefit to this added burden. Related to my post a couple weeks ago, the opportunity to meet and join in ministry with incredibly talented and passionate worship leaders from the local (and beyond) community has been an unforeseen fortune. One of these talented and passionate leaders is Colin Mukri. You can actually check him out on our website and see his beautiful gifts for yourself.
Colin brings a very unique story to us here in suburban America. He was born and reared in Malaysia. The worship leader program at Liberty University brought Colin to America and he has been living in the USA ever since. His family, his friends, and most things familiar remains in Malaysia.
The church in Malaysia provided a beautiful environment and fertile soil for Colin’s upbringing. His father is actually a pastor of a church and continues to minister today. When I was spending some time with Colin last week, I asked him if he had spoken to his father recently and inquired how he is doing. His answer, just like his story, piqued my interest. He told me that his father is doing well and enjoying the church where he serves, but he has a “real heart for the jungle.” As I dug deeper, I discovered that Colin’s father spends much of his time and energy on leading trips into remote areas of the country to spread the message of Jesus Christ and care for those living in the surrounding jungle.
So when was the last time you were in the jungle? What images does your mind conjure up when you think about the jungle? Giant green vegetation and machetes? Dark-skinned native in loin cloths? A big blue sloth bear named Baloo teaching his new friend Mowgli the rules?
If these images are closer to the jungle (except for Mowgli) where Colin’s father travels to reach people, what are the jungles of our culture into which we could travel for the same purpose? What are the seemingly dangerous, unknown, and difficult places we could enter to reach a people who live without the purpose and peace of being in relationship with their Creator?
Of course the easiest action to take is no action at all. Honestly, it can be very easy and comfortable to be in ministry in our culture. I can speak about reaching new people, but then spend most of my time in very comfortable settings–like the church. But we have to stop and ask ourselves, “What behavioral patterns am I living into for reaching people who are hurting and in need?”
Having a worship leader on the team will be a great opportunity to proclaim the message within. Unfortunately, if we do not spend our time, energy, and prayers going into less than comfortable places or conversations, then we might find ourselves proclaiming the message to only ourselves.
As a pastor, I can only hope that my sons one day respond to someone asking about me with, “He likes being a minister, but he really has a heart for the people of the jungle.”
Colin’s father deserves a medal. Few have the courage to enter the jungle.
There are many “jungles” here in Stallings and Matthews. One being community pool. I am not ashamed of the gospel — I bring my Bible and read at the pool! I keep wondering if people notice what I am reading and want to ask questions. I place it in the hands of the Lord. The day will come, in His time!