Numbers aren’t everything. However, scripture does include numbers. We know that Jesus fed 5000 men and their families. We know an approximate number of folks who were converted at Peter’s first sermon in Acts.
As a Music Minister, you clearly need to have a biblical grasp of numbers and track the fluctuations in your Choir/Orchestra or Team/Band membership. Numbers idolatry must be repented of. But numbers can also be a reflection of how we are functioning as leaders. If you are seeing your attendance/membership drop, it may have nothing to do with you. But it also may have a lot to do with you (as a MusMin). Here are the top five reasons why folks may be leaving or won’t join the Music Department that should get your attention.
1. Being A Choir Nazi. Do you fly off the handle during rehearsals? Are you rude to choir/band members? Are you intolerant and inflexible on your schedule? I have known Music Ministers who have a warped view of the word “leadership”. They think that it means “despot”.
2. Over-rehearsing. Do you keep your choir/team way over the scheduled cut-off time? Do you schedule unnecessary rehearsals? Running a rehearsal is an art. It is a delicate balance between getting the music so well-prepared that you can’t get it wrong and beating it into the ground. Make sure that you are at least close to that balance.
3. Lack Of Organization. You may be the best musician in your town but if you are constantly flying by the seat of your pants on logistics your folks will become frustrated. You may not be wired as a “left-brain” guy (forgive the term) but the “that’s just not the way I’m wired” excuse may cost you and your church. Either focus on developing some organizational skills or find someone that will deal with your lack thereof even if you have to pay them yourself.
4. Lack Of Musical Knowledge. Just because you know how to sing doesn’t mean that you know how to read music or how to teach music. Do whatever you’ve got to do to learn enough music theory and ear training so as to not leave your choir/team staring at you for ten minutes while you have someone beat out the notes for you in front of them. There are wonderful on-line ear-training exercises and books that may be purchased to help. You can also sign up for courses at local universities. Don’t overlook this very important area.
5. Showcasing/Favoritism/Clickishness. I know that every Music Minister can be accused of this. Those that want to do solos and don’t get to can easily play the “Bro. Music Minister just has his favorites” card. But on the Music Minister’s side of the coin, we can also fall into the trap of just assigning solos to trusted folks (or give ourselves the solo) rather than putting a little more effort into seeking out a “soloist-in-waiting”. What about teaching a “master class” to folks that would like to start singing solos? Make sure that your selection of soloists/featured musicians is based on skilled character and not just convenience.
This list is certainly not exhaustive. As I think of others, I may create a new list (6-10?). Keep in mind also that my definition of “bad” is defined by scripture.
In my next entry, I will share the top five GOOD reasons why your numbers aren’t what you would like them to be.