Originally published April 3, 2014
I’ve been married to a minister of music for over 20 years. My husband has served at many different churches in a variety of capacities: on staff, interim, supply, revivals, conferences, retreats, etc. Over those 20+ years and in those various capacities, I’ve observed a number of things about him, pastors, church musicians, and congregations from a unique vantage point.
Now, with a little help and a lot of input from a few sister minister of music’s wives, it’s true confessions time. Time for us to tell all…
Sing, Sing a Song…
Singing is often the only opportunity church members have (besides the offering) to take an active role in worship. Let’s all take advantage of it!
The music portion of the worship service is just that: worship and service, but sometimes we can slip into thinking of it as “filler time” before the “main event” of the sermon. If we’re spending the music time chatting with our friends, checking Facebook on our phones, knitting, or clipping our nails (sadly, yes, I’ve seen all of those happen) aren’t we robbing God and ourselves of the precious few hours per week we set aside for worship? Is it fair to God to spend the time we’re supposed to be worshiping on these kinds of distractions? God commands our worship and God deserves our worship. So, let’s give God our full attention and worship Him!
R-E-S-P-E-C-T – find out what it means to your minister of music.
The minister of music doesn’t just roll out of bed on Sunday morning, jump up on the platform, and wave his arms around for thirty minutes. He works hard during the week to plan a worship service that honors God and grows and trains the congregation spiritually. He often does so amid a number of challenges: the varied talents of his accompanists, a hymn request by the pastor or a church member, bugs in the sound system, musicians going out of town, the choir soloist getting the flu. He rehearses with the instrumentalists, the praise team, the choir, and others. When he stands in front of us to lead the music, he deserves the same respect we give the pastor when he preaches or a teacher imparting knowledge or someone at work who’s making a presentation: our attention.
Someone To Watch Over Me
Singing in the choir or on the praise team kinda goes hand in hand with being a minister of music’s wife, so we’re often up on the platform near our husbands. I need to tell you a little secret:
We can see you out there.
It is incredibly encouraging to see people who are focused on Christ and engaged with Him as they’re worshiping. It’s obvious they’re communing with their Savior and thinking about Him as they sing. It makes the minister of music feel like he’s been successful in helping them connect with the Lord in worship.
On the other hand, it’s very discouraging to see people with their hands stuffed in their pockets, not singing, or, conversely, mindlessly rattling off lyrics, and with a countenance that says, “I’d rather be at the dentist.” I once saw a televised worship service where the congregation was singing the hymn, “All that Thrills My Soul is Jesus.” It would be difficult to describe just how unthrilled most of them looked. The word “corpses” comes to mind.
Jesus said to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. When we engage all four of those areas in worship, we’re not just pleasing Him by our obedience, He’s growing us into stronger, more mature Believers. And that’s the best encouragement of all for our minister of music.
Where He Leads Me, I Will Follow
We minister of music’s wives are blessed that our husbands have, for the most part, worked under pastors who are supportive and set a great example for their congregations. Pastors, you have an enormous influence on your congregation even when you’re not aware of it. And one area in which you may not be aware that church members are watching and emulating you, even when we’re not aware of it, is during the music portion of the worship service.
Your congregation can see you during the worship time, whether you’re sitting on the stage or in a pew. What you convey with your own behavior about the importance of worship, we will absorb and reflect. If you are engaged and sing heartily to the Lord, we will get the message that you think God is worthy of all of our worship and we will follow suit. If you spend the worship time engaged in other activities, we will get the message that worship time is more like the coming attractions before a movie than a time to join in and commune with the Lord through what we sing.
Additionally, when your congregation is actively engaged in worship, it gets our hearts prepared to soak up the message you have for us in your sermon. So, when you’re worshiping with gusto, you’re not only setting a great example, you’re also getting people right where you want them: ready to drink in God’s word!
Part two of this article is on its way next week!
What are some things you appreciate about your
minister of music or worship leader?