Late Night Leadership Thoughts

We had a Worship and Prayer Night Monday – Dave Bonfa led it. Sometimes I forget moments, ideas, etc; but I always remember the feeling I had. I’m writing this because feelings ain’t shit. And I want to remember this thought process because it’s worth retaining.

Dave is an amazing musician. He plays pretty much everything and, as far as I know, has never taken any lessons. But he plays like no one I’ve ever seen. His chords are like emotions but more intense than an emotion. It’s as though each strum amplifies whatever I am feeling or thinking about – like it can’t be ignored. Like every chord is necessary to complete the thought.

My first real memory of him was walking into a production meeting before a gathering. Rob left things open for prayer and I remember him saying “God, I just want to thank you for the arts”. He could have meant anything by that. But what I felt he was saying was something I had never thought of before. I’ve been grateful for the gift of writing, guitar, dance, etc as art forms. Something to appreciate. But I didn’t feel that Dave was talking about the arts in those terms. Rather, he was talking about it as something God has given us to cope. Sometimes talking or praying or reading the Bible or more conventional ways don’t cut it… So He was thanking God for the arts. And at that moment, so was I. During the Worship Night, I was trying to re-align myself with God (as I had/have been for a while…). Listening to Dave, I remembered his prayer so many months ago and realized once again, how thankful I am to God for the arts. A realization I would have never come to were it not for him.

The other night I had a lengthy conversation with Rob about what worship was. Although there was no resolution and I have yet to fully understand what it is; I think I understood what Rob was getting at. I think he was saying worship is the moment an individual is not on an emotional high but has truly connected with Jesus. Therefore, what we call “worship” on Sunday morning is really just a tool used for other people to connect to Jesus – for OTHERS to worship.

A couple weeks ago, Dave sang “The Rescue” and preceded it with a short speech. I remember him talking about not seeing people being transformed at his old church and that’s why he had to leave. He continued to say that all we do is for the glory of God. That God loves people and wants them to feel loved/accepted and that people leave River’s Edge more comfortable with God than when they came in. Then he said the most important thing..

“People need God. And I hope that what you’re doing is allowing people to know God. I needed Him. And He came to my rescue”

And he began to sing…

I don’t know that I have ever experienced what it truly means to love a person, thing or ideology. But watching Dave Bonfa love the arts the way that he does – I think I’m getting close. I’ve watched him play a million times and I’ve enjoyed it. Been enamored by it. Been on emotional highs because of it. But it’s different now. No doubt there are better musicians in the world but it’s unlike what it is with Dave. He plays with such sincerity – it’s almost unreal. Except that it isn’t. That’s what makes him great. I don’t just want to enjoy his playing and be like him (I mean I do though..) But it’s more than that. I want to get to his place. The place where I realize that I, like most of the world, am searching for a God I so desperately need and I can find him in still small moments. And that maybe someday I, like Dave, can get people to meet with God. To see me love something and trigger something in them that makes them love in a way they never have before. So I’m writing this so I don’t forget what Dave has said over the last couple of months…

– Be thankful for the arts; as an artform and as a means to greater things

– People need God

– Make sure what you are doing allows people to know God and of course,

– I need God, and He will come to my rescue

“Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way” – Donald Miller

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