What Not to Do – Reflections of a Music Minister

What Not to Do – Reflections of a Music Minister

As I am nearing retirement from being a Worship Pastor I’ve starting doing some thinking. After being in the ministry full time for over 20 years, and combined with bi-vocational ministry for a total of over 38 years I’ve learned a few things. I haven’t done everything right. No one has. But, I’ve tried to work well with others and do the best ministry that I could wherever I have been.

The following thoughts are good for anyone in any type of leadership – pastor, associate, teacher, manager, supervisor, and even parent.

Let me share just a few things I call What Not to Do – Reflections of a Music Minister!

What Not to Do – Reflections of a Music Minister

  • When you hire someone or put a volunteer to work in your area of ministry or church, don’t suddenly surprise them with a “The Honeymoon is Over” speech and tell them everything they’ve been doing wrong for the last 6 months. Give them guidelines and expectations along the way.

This happened to me. And what was shared with me from the senior pastor were things that I could have worked on or changed in that first 6 months if only he had communicated with me along the way. Yes, a Pastor or manager should both Expect and Inspect your work. But they should also tell you the “ground rules” and lay out a game plan to help you be successful.

  • Do NOT meet with someone getting ready to go on the platform to sing or preach or minister 20 minutes beforehand and tell them everything they have done wrong recently and how disappointed you are with them.

I did a revival in Houston, TX while attending Gulf Coast Bible College. It was at a Nazarene church. It could have been any church. I’m not sure if it was a week long revival or just Thursday – Sunday. I planned the hymns and maybe a few choruses. Choruses were still a new thing back in 1975 or ’76. I also lined up some of my friends to come help do the special music. I had asked my friend Jewel to play the piano for me while I led. I might have played and sang a few specials on the piano myself, too. But, the one friend of a friend I had come, Gary, had a great voice, but brought his own PA system with him and sang “My Tribute” pretty loud. His whole presentation was a bit loud and I couldn’t stop him once he got started.

My friend, Bruce, drove up from Ingleside and we worked on a few songs, so he came one night and did some specials and helped me lead worship.

I thought I had done a good job all week, or for however many services there were. But, on the last night, the pastor and his deacons or elders met with me in the “study” or a classroom. They said, “Chuck we want to give you your check. But we want you to know we are not happy with how you handled this revival. We’ll never have you back again and probably never ask GBC for more song leaders.”

I was shocked. Then they handed me the check, we prayed, and I went out to the platform to try and lead worship.  I was shot. I just wanted to crawl in a hole.  Don’t do this to people.

If you need to meet with your pastor or your worship leader about something please call the office and set up an appointment. Don’t lie in wait until they are walking down the hallway to go lead worship on a Sunday morning. Don’t wait until you catch the pastor heading toward the sanctuary. Wait and do it at the right time.

What Not to Do – Reflections of a Music Minister

  • Never straighten someone out during a rehearsal or in a group of people. Always take them aside and speak to them privately. There is no need to embarrass anyone in front of others.

I have seen this done in staff meetings where the senior pastor is not happy with something you did or did not do and talks to you in front of the whole staff. I don’t think that is right. But, I will say this same pastor offered apologies and even cried a few tears after he realized he made a mistake and might be seeing his staff ready to depart the city.

Here is what To Do:

  • Care for each person you work with, supervise, manage, etc.
  • Work on your communication skills everyday
  • Quickly admit when you have been wrong and ask for forgiveness
  • Complement people in front of their family, friends and coworkers.
  • Try to acknowledge their presence in every setting. Sometime we get so used to each other that we become rude because we don’t say “Hello” when passing each other in the hallway.
  • And, lastly, don’t forget that Your staff are people, too! It’s so easy to take each other for granted. People are your business. Take good care of them.

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