In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul is speaking to the church about the believer’s freedom… specifically about food eaten that has been offered as a sacrifice. At the end of that chapter, he reminds them, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
I remember this verse often and I believe we, as ministers, should recall the latter part of this verse that should be applied to every area of our lives: “do it all for the glory of God.”
From personal Bible study, actions, reactions, marriages, etc, we should do it all for His honor.
But, looking into our ministry mindset, is “good enough” really good enough? Do you sometimes plan, just enough or just fill in the banks from last week with the same order and number of songs? In selecting music for choir, do you select music that only fits your comfort zone and do the same songs the same way when you repeat them in your rotation? When singing music congregationally, do you sing the same format each time in the same keys? Is planning just enough to get by god enough? I think you know the answer to that question.
When working with volunteers, we can take this a step further. We cannot give them just enough info to get by. We need to go overboard and leave nothing to chance: not because they can’t comprehend things, but when working with groups of people there are as many interpretations as there are people. We’ve got to do a better job of over-communicating and over-planning to give them every tool they need to make worship seamless and distraction-free. Answer your volunteer’s questions before they have time to ask them. Ask yourself when planning, if I sat in their seat, what questions would I have? Work harder to give your volunteers everything they need, ahead of time, so they can give 100% to God as they play/sing.
In the educational world, you pay tuition, have choir classes three times a week for an hour each, and rehearse on your own time – outside of class. Perfection is expected in that setting.
But, in the music ministry, we work with volunteers. Some instrumentalists could be paid (a little or a lot) and some could get nothing. Weather we are paid or not, as an instrumentalist for a group, we hold the key to finishing off the offering as a solid piece of work or something that we barley make it through. As a pianist for the choir, my personal practice makes the group or breaks the group. If I don’t come prepared and the choir is prepared, the group is off. If the pianist is prepared and the choir can’t sing their parts, the group is off. The director can help with the choir, but he/she can’t make the instrumentalists rehearse ahead of time. In those cases, the instrumentalists have to see their part in worship as worship leadership and an offering to God.
Choir members should come into rehearsal with an attitude of worship. They should be ready to sing and honor God with the talents He’s given them.
But, in the real world, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes you aren’t prepared, the instrumentalists aren’t prepared and the choir isn’t prepared. Sometimes the lack of preparation isn’t because your heart wasn’t into it. Maybe you don’t know how to do better. Maybe you don’t have time because you work three jobs. Don’t get discouraged by knowing you lack in this area…but instead, get encouraged by how much it is demanded by God and yet glorifies Him.
In Worship Matters, by Bob Kauflin, he writes in chapter four, that:
- Skill is a gift of God
- Skill must be developed
- Skill doesn’t make worship more acceptable before God
- Skill should be evaluated by others
- Skill is not an end in itself
- Skill helps us focus on God
- Skill helps us serve the church
- Skill multiplies opportunities
- Skill develops leadership, musicianship, communication
Even more importantly, I pray that each of us will never substitute talent, gifting, ability, or skill for what God is really after – genuine worship that affects our entire lives.
Work harder, plan better, communicate like you want to be communicated to…and do it all for the glory of God!