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Music Ministry Ups and Downs

This is sort of a further expounding upon my last 6 posts – a topic not fully covered in any of them. It is also a response to a blogger friend of mine who was facing a tough day.

Music ministry is not all roses and puppies. I’m sorry, but it’s not. Anyone who tells you it is always great, always perfect, always full of happiness, well…they’re lying to you.

Now, don’t get me wrong here. There are great days. And honestly, there are usually more great days than otherwise. Even in the roughest of church positions, the good usually outweighs the bad. That only happens when your attitude is right. An attitude that lets things roll off your back. An attitude that says, “I’m going to make the best I can out of this.” An attitude that looks at the glass half full instead of half empty. An attitude that looks for the silver lining in every cloud…I’m out of cliches. A wise man, Chuck Swindoll, once said,

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”


So, I challenge you to have this positive attitude no matter what. And…you can only get that through a strength of faith in two central biblical truths: 1. God is Good and 2. God is in Control. A true understanding of those two truths will help you have a more positive attitude.


But…even when the good outweighs the bad…you still have to deal with the bad stuff. In a former church, I once had the chairmen of the deacons ask to meet with me. It took him about 20 minutes to get to his point, even though I knew exactly where he was going from his first statement. His summary and challenge to me was this, “The people who give the most money to this church don’t like the music you do each Sunday and want you to change it to what we want.” (Those aren’t his exact words, it was a long time ago…but you get the idea.) I had to bow up a little and respond, “You know Mr.X, I’m not here just to minister to those with money. I’ve got the challenge to meet everyone’s needs, rich or poor, this race or that, this status or that status. All deserve the opportunity to worship in the way that best suits them. The way you propose leaves out at least half of our congregation.” – or something like that. Needless to say, that wasn’t so good of a day.


Another church, with many rumblings underneath, finally agreed with me that some changes needed to take place in their worship leadership and general music ministry attitude. However, they said, “We realize some changes need to take place, we just don’t feel like we can make those changes with you here. We can afford to cover your salary and benefits for three more months. You can choose to remain on staff and work those months out or take a two week notice and receive those three months as severance.” Ouch…bad day.


I had one person say I was the rudest person they had ever met. Not a good day. Another accuse me of being “unapproachable” – I’m not sure where that came from. There was a heart-wrenching decision to cancel a program we had begun work on simply because there weren’t enough people involved to pull it off. I’ve had some Sunday’s where I didn’t recall making it through a single song without making a mistake (or multiple mistakes). Other Sundays where I felt that no one understood what I was trying to do. And other Sundays where I really had to struggle to remind myself that I’m worshipping God, not being entertainment for the crowd that seems so bored.


Bottom line…bad stuff happens. Bad days come. It’s time for an attitude check. With the right attitude about God, life, your job, your family, etc…you can have a more joyful existence. Give it a chance.


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