What You Can Learn from the “Song of the Summer”
"Cheerleader" by Omi (the no twerking version)
Well hello, friends! It’s after Labor Day and I hope that you’ve retired all your white clothing for the season. Miss Manners is watching. Even though summer has come to a close, the official “Song of the Summer” has just been announced. You two NPR listeners out there may have missed this summer’s biggest hit, “Cheerleader” by Omi. This is my public service to you.
I’ve been hearing this tune on the radio and, never knowing its title, I’ve been loudly singing –much to the chagrin of my teen-aged daughter – “Oh, I think I have found myself a jelly bear!” Who knew that “jelly bear” really was “cheerleader”? How was I to know? Youth these days sing weirder things than that. But I digress.
Here’s what is important about “Cheerleader” and what you can learn from it:
It’s upbeat. Yes the song is about a relationship, and it’s not exactly an example of post-feminist thinking, but the tune makes you feel (dare I say?) happy. Omi genuinely feels great being around his girlfriend and is true to her. How’s your relationship with your congregation going? Are you their biggest cheerleader? Of course this doesn’t mean that you’re Little Suzie (or Sammie) Sunshine all the time. However, if you don’t start with deep affection for your congregation, challenging them to move forward in their faith will probably fall flat.
Change doesn’t happen overnight. As Rolling Stone reported, “About eight years ago, Jamaican singer Omar Pasley woke with a melody in his head that he couldn’t shake. It was the beginning of 'Cheerleader,' which has since become one of the more unlikely – and slowest-rising – Number One pop hits ever. 'Cheerleader' started as a radio favorite in Jamaica in 2012, became a hit all over Europe in 2014, and finally topped the Hot 100 in mid-July.” Wow. How’s your stamina? Are you in this faith journey thing for the long haul? When he was 20, Omi had a song in his head, stuck with it, saw some small wins, kept believing, and now eight long years later has the “Song of the Summer.” Surely, you have a dream too. If Omi can stick with his dream – so can you.
And it’s that’s simple ladies and gentlemen: optimism and stamina.
While I don’t recommend it, it might be highly entertaining for your congregation to see you come out singing,
“Cause, oh I think I have found myself a cheerleader…” because we all need a cheerleader in our corner, and it is the season for rooting for your team. Go team go!
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over $2.5 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She will proudly keep singing about her “jelly bear” even if it doesn’t make any sense at all. She served as the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation; she is available to consult with churches in Oregon and Idaho. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.