Original Written and REF: By Amy Young on Aug 16, 2017
Even though this was written by another missionary. I am taking the time to bring this to you and rewriting portions of it from my own view point. For the oriniginal writing, please go to http://www.alifeoverseas.com/marching-band-and-missionaries-are-basically-the-same/ Please enjoy the read!
This truth hit me smack between the eyes.
I didn’t see it coming. I’m not sure I like it. (Hello, one seems fun but maybe a bit shallow and the other purposeful, deep, you know, important.)
But the truth is marching bands and missionaries are basically the same or have much in common. Marching band camp season in the US brings about a lot of insight for me.
Here is how marching bands and missionaries are basically the same
- 1. Regional flavors exist.In the U.S.A. it turns out that band in Las Vegas, Nv and Charlotte, NC, are, well, not the same. Mission work in Mexico, Thailand, and Africal are, um well, not the same.
- The whole is made up of parts. Like other bands, marching bands are divided into sections. So, sometimes the flutes are off by themselves practicing their little fluty hearts out. Other times, the entire band is together working on their show. A dear missionary, may be a part of a team, a city team, a region, and maybe even a much larger organization. If you get together for annual or bi-annual meetings, it’s kind of like seeing the show that God is working out through your different efforts.
- The work is same-same, but different. Every year the marching band learns a new show. They do not pull out the show from the year before and dust it off. No, they learn a completely new show. Now, they are, for the most part, playing the same instruments, wearing the same outfits, and marching with the same marching techniques. Here is where missions can learn from marching bands: are you working on a new show? Or are you pulling out last year’s show? Worse yet, have you been playing the same show for the last four years. If you are bored, of course check with the Holy Spirit, but perhaps, you’ve been putting new wine in old wine skins, so to speak.
- New members come each year. The nature of a marching band is that the commitment is four years, so that means every year there are newbies in with oldies. There are those who are familiar with what they are doing with those who are just learning. There are those who have never marched before and learning to march (which is actually harder than it looks). When we are in a season of welcoming folks new to the field. It is exciting but,
- Getting everyone’s feet going up at the same time and height takes a lot of practice.You do about 10 steps over and over. Most common word heard in this phase? “Reset!” Oh that everyone just got it right away. Instead, you reset and do it again. Which leads me to . . . The most complete word(s) that could replace the marching word “reset” in the mission field might just be “flex it out”. This is done over and over and over again.
- It can be less glamorous than it appears. What do most people see? Your marching band performance. Costumes, props, music, precision. What do they not come to watch? The three hours you were out on the practice field where you might spend a whole morning on 20 seconds of the show. When it comes to missions, what do most people hear about? The dramatic, the annoying (hello visas, I’m talking about you), the moving. Which can perpetuate the myth that everything we do is so fascinating we are basically floating through life.
- Growing pains. Bands do not stay the same size year after year. Three years ago, the band was made up of 40 members. (Side note: it is impressive that a small band can produce a show as impressive as a band with hundreds. Size isn’t the key factor, committed members is.) Obviously this is a small marching band. This year, there are 70 members. Exciting? Yes. But that means the majority haven’t been a part of the band for more than one year. In a few years it could grow back to 50 or so. Bands do not stay the same size, and chances are neither has your organization or the number in your country of service.
- The curse of history. Want to know who gave the most problems during band camp? The returning members. (oh and yes, least we not be honest here, some of the new members as well!)
Stop and pause on that one for a moment.
Those returning to the field have ideas that are well founded. Yet at times have become inflexible and stale. The new ones who give a spot of troubles, let’s just say that zero homework was done before landing in the ripe new field. (“Why did you bring us out here to starve? We had it better in slavery in Egypt!.)
- The blessing of history. With returning members and a history of state championships, the band isn’t starting from scratch every year. Instead they are standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before. They are adding to a story that started before them and will continue after they graduate. The revolving door, though hard, brings about new blessings and allows the Holy Spirit to revive, refresh and create newness, all while building on solid known methods and foundations.
- In the end, it is worth it. Both marching bands and missions are about something bigger. Something that is living and dynamic. Something that pushes you to the limit physically without guarantees of glory. Something that offers a common purpose, fellow sojourners, and the chance to be a part of something that might not look like much on the ground, but the view from above? Now, that is something to behold.
Were you in a band? What did playing in a band teach you about missions? Have you watched a band perform? What instrument did you play? Where do you think you would fit in the best as a potential member?
(I was never in a marching band. I have never played an instrument other than strumming my thumbs. My true love? Come to the mission field and find out!!)