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Polar exploration and worship leaders

In December of 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton set sail for Antarctica, with the goal of being the first to cross the continent. Called the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, Shackleton considered it to be the last great polar journey. The story of this trip, the crew’s ordeal of being stranded when their boat was crushed by the ice of the seas, and their subsequent rescue is simultaneously frightening and inspiring.

What captures the attention of many about Shackleton’s expedition is how he recruited men to join him. It is alleged that prior to the journey, he posted an ad in the London Times which said…

Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.

It is believed that some 5000 men responded to this advertisement. 27 men were selected, and if I can ruin the end of the story for you, all 27 of the men survived the astounding hardship of what began as a dream in Shackleton’s mind. He had a vision and a plan, and needed others to join him in order to see it come to fruition. He put out what seemed to be an impossible request, and found eager volunteers.

“What does this have to do with worship leaders?” is what you may be asking yourself while gently mocking me for the possibility that I may be taking an illustration too far. Perhaps I am. But, I have your attention thus far, so I’ll keep going. The church we serve at is in a relatively remote location. Someone counted it up and along 18 miles of paved road, there are 130 homes in what makes up the North River valley. Small population, small church, few resources. For the past 9 months, we have been without regular, committed worship leaders for our Sunday morning gatherings. We have been extraordinarily blessed by friends who have led us in music once or twice a month, for whom we are profoundly grateful. Most Sundays though, we are a capella. Do you need to have musicians in order to have a church? Absolutely not. Is it a gift and blessing if you have them? You betcha. With that, I now put forward my best Shackletonian request…

Men wanted to lead a grace-filled journey, serving through music. No pay. No fame. Remote location. Uncertain lodging options. Eternal recognition is guaranteed, as is the great appreciation of a church family. Opportunity to serve among the unknown and unremembered, to lift praises to the One who can be known, and to lead His people to a corporate remembrance of Him.