Day 315: Class Gym Heroes

One of the things I love so much about leading a youth worship team is that I get to witness first-hand the growth of young people physically, emotionally and spiritually. It’s a real privilege when I get to share some of those experiences too. During the Christmas break, one of the Revolution members asked if I could show him around the gym I go to as he’s keen on, in his words, ‘getting hench’. His parents were all too happy for him to come along, so off we went.

 After a brief (but slightly unnerving) stint on the treadmills, I showed my young friend the pull-up bar. Keep it simple. After demonstrating the machine, which has the ability to add weights to counteract your own body and make it easier, I encouraged him to go for it. I didn’t want to push him too hard, so I made the weight fairly high to make it as simple as possible (the higher the weight, the less of your own weight you use…I don’t really know how to explain that in a better way!). Up the steps he climbed, ready and willing to take on this challenge. His hands closed their grips on the bar and with such finesse he quite literally stepped up to the plate. This was the moment of truth…

It all happened so quickly. The plate on which he stood plummeted to the ground with untamed ferocity, roaring around the gym, alerting everyone in the room to our less-than-awesome presence. His hands were reddening through an ever-loosening grip but were standing firm, though the arms that had the potential to be oh-so resolute had thoroughly given up. Hanging, helpless and bewildered, swinging ever so gently above the ground, it was although time stopped for a moment. My first thought, if I’m honest, was that his arms were going to come out of their sockets, and how far could I drive before his mum found out that I’d stretched her sons arms to Mr Men-like proportions. My second thought was to check whether this Revolution member was ok.

Having clambered back to his original position, it had transpired that my friend hadn’t quite realised that you had to lower yourself down as well as pull yourself up, so, with all his might had pushed down on the weights which so harshly provided no opposition whatsoever. This teenager had effectively jumped at full force towards the floor but in the shock of the moment kept hold of the bars, leaving him comically stranded. Frankly, it was hilarious!

You know, I first met this kid when he was eleven. It’s about four years since then and I’ve accumulated some fantastic memories of his incredible achievements over the years. It’s a testament to the quality of those worship team members that I could say the same for so many of them. I remember a day when he wanted only to learn songs by the Jonas brothers. That amusing but heavy moment on the pull-up machine was an important step for this guy to take. Once he’d figured out the process, he was excellent. The combination of knowledge, commitment and determination that reside so comfortably in him meant that he kept going and pushed himself to the best of his ability. That makes me so proud. I remember a day when spiritually, he was weaker (he’s never been spiritually ‘weak’, a huge testament to his parents). Like his episode at the gym, it’s something he has worked on, grown in and focussed on. Seeing him grow physically was both funny and exciting, but seeing him grow spiritually is far more amazing. It’s something that, like staying fit, he’ll have to work on though.

You know…you know in your heart that there is really someone who is worthy of praise when you pray that a young person’s progress in his mission to get fitter will mimic the up-and-to-the-right trajectory of his phenomenal spiritual journey. Exciting times indeed!

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