“I think we’re about to get JESUIFIED…” I overheard as I was bringing my guitar into Tabu Coffee Sunday evening. I wasn’t really sure how I felt about that. I knew when I decided to start performing every Sunday night at Tabu, I want to say “lead worship at Tabu”, that not everyone would appreciate what we were doing. I realized that we were invading other people’s space. Most of the people that are in the coffee shop didn’t plan on “going to church” when they set out to go there.
Quite frankly, it’s incredibly easy to sing songs worshiping God at church. It’s easy to sing and pray at church. When I’m at church, the discussion seems to always come around to take our faith in Jesus Christ outside the church walls. But truth be told, that’s not as simple as it seems when I’m surrounded in comfortable surroundings with a group of fellow believers. I have to admit that the vast majority of people that I surround myself with are believers.
At heart, I am an evangelist. It breaks my heart to know that in my small town there are no fewer than 60 church listings in the phone book but on any given Sunday morning more than 60% of this same town is not in service of any kind. A few years ago I started a group called Suntribo, which is translated broken-hearted in Luke 4:18. When I looked it up in Vine’s, it translates literally, “broken to pieces”. That’s my story. I couldn’t submit to His will until mine was broken. So be it. Because of this, broken people seem to be attracted to me.
In our early days, we did play at churches for youth groups. Rachel would give her testimony and the young girls would want to talk to Zac after our performance. At one point I thought we might start working the church circuit. Plenty of churches wanted what we were offering but I always thought I wanted to take what we do to secular places. I wanted to take Suntribo outside the church walls.
So here I am Sunday night with Rachel and Zach and Cheyenne, setting up at Tabu Coffee to sing a few songs to Jesus before John comes up and gives a lesson. That is what I wanted, right?
Truth be told, it is easier to sing to Jesus in the assembly than it is in a place and time that wasn’t predestined for that purpose. We pray together and then go up on stage. No mics, no fanfare. I usually don’t say anything, I just count off the first song and we go.
For the most part, people ignore us. They keep talking. The coffee grinder keeps grinding espresso beans, laptop lids stay up and earbuds remain in place. While John is speaking sometimes the music on people’s computers is so loud I can hardly hear him. Zac is usually oblivious to it all, he just beats on his drums, but Rachel and I usually look at each other for support while we’re singing. Frankly, it’s uncomfortable. It’s a lot easier on Wednesday night singing for a youth group in Huntington, Texas than in my hometown coffee shop.
Yet, next Sunday night I’m going to pack my guitar and go out to the coffee house and sing songs to Jesus again. For all the discomfort, this outreach is proving rewarding. While I’m not receiving accolades for my incredible performance and being told that I’m under some sort of anointing, I am seeing people express interest in Jesus. Not a bunch, but an average of one per week. Jesus tells the story of a shepherd that leaves 99 sheep to go look for one. Jesus commanded us to go into all the world and make disciples. I can’t do that if I stay confined to the four walls of my church and surrounded only by my friends who are also believers. I take comfort in this fact: it’s not my responsibility to build the church. Jesus said that on this rock HE will build His church. He said that He is the true vine and that I am just a branch. And the Holy Spirit (not me) came to convict the world of sin.