Serving God and his church

Playl's Ponderings


“Did I tell you what Lawrence is doing at church now?”

My daughter, Stephanie, offered the question as we chatted by phone. Lawrence is her 13-year-old son and our precious grandson that drowned about seven years ago. He was miraculously revived and survived the near-death experience. He is one of two grandsons that has my middle name of Lawrence.

Had the question been posed by my mother when I was 13, the answer would probably have been: “Has Stevie been passing notes, or playing dots or tic-tac-toe instead of listening to the preacher...again!?”

But the question involved the activity of William Lawrence Nash not his papa, Stephen Lawrence Playl. When I failed to offer an answer, his mom provided the correct response: “He’s been helping the sound guy!”

Genuinely impressed, I pressed her for more details. Turns out he has been helping in the sound booth at their church for a few weeks, preparing for their Christmas program. In fact, the teenaged apprentice has been at the controls - solo - a couple of times, when the main sound guy couldn’t be there. With that information I was even more impressed.

A few days after the initial conversation, I called Lawrence for some facts from the primary source. He gave me a brief description of his duties and some of the background of his recent calling. It all started when the youth pastor inquired of the youth group whether someone might be interested in becoming a sound engineer for the Christmas program. Lawrence jumped at the opportunity. Why not? Both of his parents have experience as sound techs, one in radio the other in stage productions.

For the next church service, Lawrence joined the sound guy as an observer, and he took to it like a duck to water. Soon he was assisting, and then, as his mom had already informed me, he flew solo. The responsibilities in the sound booth are actually pretty significant. In each service, four to six people are fitted with mics and given a soundcheck. The mics have to be muted and unmuted as needed and the volume must be carefully controlled, being sure there is no feedback. And the Sunday morning services are broadcast live on Facebook.

As I was chatting with Lawrence about his new vocation, Sammie interrupted. “Tell him Nahnee is so proud of him, and remind him that he’s still my Sweet Lawrence.” I did and he responded that she was still his Sweet Nahnee.

I relayed his words to her, then added with an exaggerated wink, “...and I’m his grouchy old Papa.” (Pause) “Right Lawrence?”

Lawrence is too sweet to correct his grandfather, but he’s also too kind to agree with the assessment I had seemingly made of myself. So he diplomatically stated, “Papa! You’re not THAT grouchy. Not all the time.”

I pray that he will retain that sweet attitude and humble spirit throughout his years as a teenager. I also pray that he will continue to listen to God as He calls him to serve in various ways, whether it be a sound tech, deacon or janitor.

What is God calling you to do to help present His message to the world? From teenager to senior adult and everything in between and perhaps even earlier...God can use each of us to get the message across. It may be preaching, or singing, or teaching, or may be amplifying the sound, or putting the letters on a church sign, or setting the stage for someone else. Whatever His calling, He wants us all to serve Him, and serve others, in kindness and humility

--Steve Playl, columnist, college instructor, former pastor, and hospital chaplain can be reached by email at


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