This will be a sketch of two chapters in Worship Matters in the section Right Relationships. They are the intro chapter, Always People, and the important chapter entitled, Your Church.
This chapter does a great job of reminding us that the key to our serving is people. Loving people. Caring for people. Relating to people for God’s glory. I especially enjoyed Bob’s pointed advice that if we are serving a church and quickly leave for another church it shows that we are often doing so to suit our own desires and may have not really been seeking to serve and love people.
Key Topics: Taking Stock of Your Relationships, Why We Can’t Do This Alone (Sin is Deceptive, We Need the Contributions of Others, Relationships are How We Worship God), & With One Voice.
“I’ve heard that the average length of employment for a paid music minister is two to three years…it’s disappointing for at least two reasons. First, it shows that guys are basing their decisions about church involvement more on ministry opportunities than on what’s best for them and their family…Second, it suggests we’re not working through relational problems that inevitably confront leaders. We choose to avoid rather than solve them. Whether it’s a pastor we can’t get along with, a critical church, or a team that doesn’t follow us (or doesn’t exist), we find a reason to move on. God has a better way. He intends to use our relational conflicts to make us more like his Son. And in the process we become more effective tools for serving the church and bringing him glory” (pp 213-214).
“The church doesn’t need leaders who love to lead people in worship but don’t love the people they’re serving…Living in harmony takes endurance and encouragement from God” (pp 216-217).
This was a little longer chapter than the previous chapters in the book. And for good reason. It is a critical chapter that deals with issues that we all face within the church – especially in the serving life. Reading and learning from this chapter would be a good idea not only for musicians but for all those within church leadership and church service.
Key Thoughts: The Priority of Prayer, Encouragement and Correction (Receiving Compliments & Receiving Criticism), Other Leadership Challenges (Handling Song Suggestions, Introducing and Leading Through Changes, Teaching New Songs), & Precious in the Eyes of God.
“The importance of prayer is something we need to hear over and over. If we don’t pray for those in our church, we’ll lack power, grace, and love as we lead them. Pray for the church when you’re planning songs. Pray for them during rehearsals. Pray for them as you’re getting ready to lead. And pray for them also in your regular times with the Lord…Prayer helps me remember what I can’t do…Prayer opens my eyes to God’s purpose…Prayer cultivates care for others” (pp 219-220).
“Even when it’s a genuine compliment sincerely offered, we can feel uncomfortable. Usually we’re battling the fact that we love being encouraged but don’t want to be proud…Here are some practices I’ve learned to help me receive encouragement (at least better than I used to): Thank the person for taking the time to encourage you…If the compliment is vague, ask for clarification …Express gratefulness for the opportunity to serve…Draw attention to the contributions of others…Internally and intentionally ‘transfer the glory to God’… None of this means we won’t struggle later with pride…The best thing to do then is confess my pride to God and again transfer all the glory to him” (pp 221-222).
“In a word, loving reproof simply means being humble. It’s receiving correction as a gift from God’s loving, wise, and sovereign hand, sent to make us more like his precious Son. So pray for correction…Expect correction…Be proactive…Thank people who correct you…Ask follow up questions…Thank God for correction…Alfred Poirier provides this life-changing perspective: ‘In light of God’s judgment and justification of the sinner in the cross of Christ, we can begin to discover how to deal with any and all criticism. By agreeing with God’s criticism of me in Christ’s cross, I can face any criticism man may lay against me. In other words, no one can criticize me more than the cross has'” (pp 222-223).
“Leading the church can be exhilarating one moment and exasperating the next. But God wants to ask you a question: Do you love your church?…We often look out on our congregation and see normal people, nothing special. But God sees his treasured possession. These are the people he purchased with the blood of his own Son (Acts 20:28). They’re precious in his sight. May they be precious in ours” (p 228).