Colleen Mahoney shares her experience lifting her voice up to the Lord
I first accepted Jesus as my Lord and saviour in 2003 at the age of eight, the same year that I wrote my first song, and if you ask me that’s no coincidence. My love for music is definitely a gift from God and it has been so pivotal in developing my personal relationship with Him. There have been countless times where I’ve needed to hear from God and I’ll hear a song a few days later that just screams his presence to me. In fact, I could make playlist after playlist of music that God has used to help direct me in one way or another. Songs that He used to get me through a difficult time, to let me know I’m not alone, to inspire me to pursue my dreams, or even to remind me of his teachings.
I don’t write the songs,
God does, and I honestly mean that.
God is also very present in the creation of my own music. I always tell others that I don’t write the songs, God does, and I honestly mean that. There have been so many times where I’ll have a burst of inspiration and need to drop everything to write, and when I say everything, I mean everything! I remember coming home on the bus from school and suddenly getting the idea for my song “Bridges”. I still had three stops to go, but the urge to write was so strong that I got off anyways and ran all the way home. There have been other times where I’ve woke up in the middle of the night and had to creep downstairs to record an idea on my phone before being able to go back sleep. I have a basket filled with scribbles on napkins, receipts, old high school agendas, even the odd church bulletin!
I wouldn’t describe my music as traditional praise and worship, but that doesn’t mean that Jesus isn’t in the heart of the song. A lot of my songs reflect around the hope that Jesus brings to the world, about his love and the incredible teachings He left for us to learn. I take this hope, this amazing lifesaving message and try and frame it in a way that anyone, whether you’ve been walking with Jesus for years or never even heard of him before, can be engaged by the lyrics. Because to me worship is all about discovering who Jesus is and giving thanks and praise for this incredible and life-saving gift we have been given through His death and resurrection. In fact, I’d say that worship doesn’t even have anything to do with music! Singing worship songs is just one way of worshiping Jesus and the gift He gave us, but there are many ways of doing so. For example, dancing, painting, showing good sportsmanship, even committing to work hard at your job can be all forms of worship. Obviously to me, music is the way I connect best with God, so that is the medium I use to worship Him. But really worship comes down to connecting to God (even in the difficult times) in the way which is most meaningful to you. I joined the worship arts team because music is so important in my worship experience at church, and I want to help others have the same experience. In fact, I remember being so impressed with the music the first time I came to the Bridge. I loved how current it was (very different from the hymns I was used to) and I remember feeling so full of joy as I clapped and sang along. I hope that by being a part of the worship arts team I can do my part to keep that environment alive before services. I really guess the reason I joined was to share my love of worship through song with others!
Something I wasn’t expecting when joining the team is how much being a part of this group would help me spiritually. The group has become my small group of sorts, we’re there to support each other through the good and bad times, which is something that I sorely needed over the past few years. God has brought me through some incredibly difficult moments in these past few years, and I know now that He brought me to the Bridge for that very reason. He knew that I would need the spiritual support of the friends I would make in the worship arts team, not to mention that I would need to personally hear the messages in many of the songs we would sing. God knows me well enough to know that I need several taps on the shoulder before I understand what He’s trying to tell me, and having the songs for Sunday’s service constantly on repeat sure did the trick! Even now I find that the meaning of a song we are singing on Sunday will change depending on the season of life I’m currently in. Each triumph and downfall changes the meaning of the song, making the words constantly fresh and spiritually fulfilling. I guess that’s one of the main lessons being a part of the worship arts team has taught me. Things might not be going perfectly in your life, and you might not be the “perfect” follower of Christ, but everyone has a spot waiting for them in His church where they can not only help other’s with their spiritual journey, but also strengthen their own relationship with Jesus. God has an amazing sense of timing (pretty much perfect if you ask me!) and he has a way of bringing people together to do some pretty incredible things. I feel like God has a special plan for the Bridge and everyone in it, and I am so blessed to be able to take some small part in it.
God has an amazing sense of timing
(pretty much perfect if you ask me!)
And with that, I would like to leave you all with one final thought. Whether you decide to get involved with the worship arts team, children’s ministry, the building committee, or one of the many other areas of the church, it is so fulfilling to be a part of a team. Reaching out to join the worship arts team has been one of the best decisions I’ve made to date. I love every minute I get to spend worshiping God with my fellow team mates, whether they are playing instruments, singing, helping with the set, the lights, the sound or the service in general. It’s one thing to go to church on Sundays, it’s another feeling entirely to be a part of the community of volunteers who help make Sundays run a smoothly as possible. I truly love the Bridge, and I am so grateful to all the volunteers who help to make our church so welcoming and filled with love. You are all so amazing, and I can’t wait to serve with all of you (and hopefully some new faces) for years to come.