Friday, October 1st, 2010
In the mid-1990s I had become somewhat disillusioned with worship music and the ministry connected with it. I grew tired of the striving, weary of artists jumping on the worship bandwagon just because worship music projects were selling more units. There was also my own shallowness as I compared myself with some of those artists. Looking back, I can see that I was passing through a patch of wilderness; God desired to break me in different ways so He could use me in new ways.
In the previous five years, I had experienced some successes with songs and recording projects (all of which were a surprise) and some failures, too. (not a huge surprise but still discouraging!). I had also spent a good portion of those years pursuing a dream to communicate the Father-heart of God through music and story in a musical called Father’s House. The project collapsed for several reasons at the end of 1996. (Our experience with Father’s House is a long story about a faith and ministry venture that did not work out, costing us our house and causing many other heartbreaks!)
In the process I reached a low point, a point where I was not even sure I believed in God anymore. Or maybe I believed in God but had decided He simply wound up the universe and for the most part abandoned us to sort ourselves out. Rather than finding a figurative corner to “suck my thumb” and feel sorry for myself after the musical collapsed, I decided to try to find a place in the church where I could serve someone else’s vision for a few seasons, rather than try to keep my own visions alive. And so God, in His great compassion for my family and my wife, Joyce, moved us to England.
I was given two jobs upon arrival. The first was as the worship pastor at the South West London Vineyard under the leadership of John and Eleanor Mumford. The second one involved training songwriters and worship leaders in the Vineyard movement throughout England, Scotland, and Ireland. There were about seventy-five Vineyard churches in the United Kingdom and Ireland at the time.
It was challenging to do a good job leading worship when so much of my heart was still ravaged by confusion and disappointment. But I had served long enough in the church to know how to effectively gather up people in the presence of God through intimate worship, and so I just got on with it, believing that eventually my feelings and the restoration of my heart would follow. I do remember a few times when I gulped rather deeply before getting up to lead worship, wondering if God might strike me down for leading in public, when privately I was having doubts about His very existence – or at the least, doubts about His goodness and whether He was actively intervening on behalf of His children. Yet where else could I turn? I knew enough about the other major philosophies and religions to know that nothing else really made sense of life and death, nor satisfied my heart and awakened my spirit.
Excerpted from Make Love, Make War, by Brian Doerksen (A Survivor book from David C. Cook, 2009).