Are We Responsible for Raising Up Skilled Musicians?
Have you given up…thrown in the towel…raised the white flag…resigned yourself to what you have?
The quest for excellence in worship ministry is a tiresome one. Or expensive :) for those who are able and choose to hire professionals. (Personally, I find it surprising that our largest churches don’t have superb musicians in their congregations just waiting to get on stage and volunteer the gifts and abilities God gave them. But this blog post is not really about that so I digress.)
Worship Leader Magazine recently published an extended version of my “Are You Allowing Excellence to Knockout Excellence?” post in their eNewsletter. I was blown away by the amount of conversation it generated on their site and on Facebook. I was expecting the blowback from leaders who emphasize spiritual qualifications to the near-complete exclusion of skill. But what blew me away was the number of worship leaders who argued passionately about our responsibility to raise up skilled musicians from within our churches.
I was humbled and challenged by hearing from leaders who pour so much of themselves into individual’s lives because they place high value on people without abandoning their quest for excellence! Here’s one leader’s story (I received her permission to share it here) and I hope it inspires and challenges you as it did me:
Great article! I’m a worship leader of a very small Church (a smidge over app. 150) and I’ve faced this issue several times. Since I don’t have the luxury of a large pond to fish from (or choose from), I’ve found it helpful to find other ways the “lesser skilled” can be involved… When I was first hired on to this Church as the music director, I was the only “skilled musician” in the entire Church. I used Instrumental tracks left and right! …But I see how far God has brought us in our music ministry. Before me, they didn’t even have instrumentalists. No pianist, organist; just a few ladies leading a capella as a last resort. I did whatever I could to get something going. If anyone could play anything I would work with them personally. My first worship band consisted of a 13 yr. old guitar player all the way to an 80 yr. old bass player (female). It wasn’t quite the sound that I personally preferred, but my heart rejoiced along with the congregation that was happy to have live melody in the air once again. Through a lot of prayer, practice and determination (and 7 1/2 yrs. later), I am grateful to say that we have a full praise band, a nice-sized choir, and 20 good vocalists who rotate each Sunday to sing on the Praise Team. We’re no mega-Church, but I do have to say in our situation (that you may find is more common than you think) if it wasn’t for the heart and soul, we wouldn’t be where we are today… – Christina
Awesome! Let’s wrap this up with a few quick idea-starters for how you could raise up talent in your context:
- Forming a youth band.
- Meeting with individuals for lessons.
- Using the choir as a training ground.
- Using mid-week rehearsals as a training ground.
- Forming an apprenticeship process.
We’d all love to hear your success story…be it big or small!