Of Ministers and Musicians

A colleague picked this up at a Diocesan training day, but I haven’t been able to find it on the web. I thought it was worth sharing more widely.

The Minister’s perspective:

PULLING TOGETHER: I want to know that you are fully behind me, that we share the same vision. I’ve heard of many situations where the musicians have been a major impediment to the growth and life of the church. They’ve developed their own empire. When the rest of the church has wanted to move forward, they’ve dug their heels in or even split the church.

LOYALTY: As leader, I expect your loyalty and respect towards the leadership team. I am legally responsible for the church and nothing can change that at the moment. The decisions I make with the leadership team are made for the good of the whole church. Some things you may not approve of, but please don’t be tempted to gossip or foment rebellion in the camp. The musicians are a powerful force within the church and if they begin to pull in a different direction it can be devastating.

TEACHABILITY: I want to be able to ‘speak into’ your ministry – to make suggestions and comments about the way things are done so that it matches the whole thrust of a service or the worship in general. I’d like to be able to suggest certain hymns and songs without feeling that you disdain my comments. I’m not particularly musical but my opinions deserve a hearing.

SERVANT SPIRIT: Servanthood is an important qualification for ministry. Whatever gift we have, it must be used to serve others in the body of Christ. I wish to serve you and help release your full potential in terms of personal growth and ministry. I expect you to have a similar attitude to me, so that together we will be able to serve and build up the body of Christ here in its worship and mission.

MUSICAL BREADTH: I want to emphasise the need for musical diversity within the church. We are from many backgrounds and age groups. We have many different needs in worship, therefore we need a similar diversity within music for worship. While I know you value certain styles of music above others, please don’t dismiss other preferences if different from your own. If you rubbish the style, you can rubbish the person too.

KEEPING UP TO DATE: I expect you to keep abreast of the wider worship scene, and to ensure that the congregation is introduced to that music which the wider body of Christ is finding relevant. I don’t want our church to be cut off from the mainstream but I’d like to maintain some quality too. I want us to develop our own distinct musical repertoire which reflects our needs, our priorities.

APPRECIATING MY PERSPECTIVE: Please realise that I have to keep an overview of everything. What you see as the most important priority at the moment may not be so for someone else standing in another position. Please trust me in the decisions I make.

BE A MODEL: I acknowledge the tremendous gift and potential for music in worship. You and the whole music ministry can be come a model and inspiration to the congregation – an embodiment of worship, a sample of what the body of Christ can be.

The musician’s perspective:

AN OVERALL PERSPECTIVE: I need you, as leader, to hold the wider vision open for me. I can easily get so preoccupied with the music and worship scene that I forget that it is just one area of ministry. If you and the other leaders are clear about the overall vision, direction and emphasis of our church, then I can develop music and worship styles which reflect and serve it.

VISION: If the leader hasn’t a clear sense of direction, how can anyone follow? I believe your role is to guard the vision God has given for our church. Other service gifts like music can then fit into the context. For example, a church with a strong evangelistic calling might have music which emphasises that commitment.

MUSIC CAN’T DO EVERYTHING: I don’t appreciate it when people expect music to glue the whole thing together. Effective worship has much wider implications. For the music ministry to function properly, I rely on the whole body of Christ being well formed and nurtured. Music may reflect a healthy body, but it can never be a substitute for it. Don’t force on me the whole responsibility for making worship happen within the congregation.

VULNERABILITY: Leaders operate most effectively out of weakness – that is, the acknowledgement that without God they can do nothing. That doesn’t mean leaders should be inept, indecisive weaklings. It means they should have a vulnerability to God and to others, a softness of character which God has effected through life’s experiences. People identify with weakness: it allows others in so that sharing and bonding may happen.

EARN MY RESPECT: I will submit to your leadership, but I’d rather do it out of respect than out of obligation. You will earn my respect particularly by admitting that you don’t have all the answers and by your willingness to acknowledge mistakes. When I summon up the courage to confront you over an issue about which I feel deeply, I hope that you won’t be dismissive. Don’t let feelings of insecurity put you on the defensive and prevent you from listening to me. I hope that you would do the same for me – I want to grow as a person and as a disciple too.

FACILITATING: Many of us within the church have very specific gifts. As the overall leader I look to you for the ability to facilitate them and allow our ministries to flourish for the good of the whole. We don’t expect you to be gifted in every direction, but to provide continuity and oversight, a covering under which we can operate.