Today we get to hear from the music director’s wife as she shares some great nuggets that apply not only to women’s ministry leaders, but all church attendees.
Please give Erica, The Ministry Mama, a warm welcome!
My husband has been the music director in our church for the past five years. He grew up in a very musical family that spent their time and talents singing in their local church on a regular basis. His father is a church pianist, his mother was trained to sing opera music before moving to Bible college, and his sister is an elementary music teacher. I’ve taken a few of the things we’ve learned through the years from each of these sources to help compile this list and hope that you will be able to benefit from it.
1. Singing is Biblical. Our pastor always encourages us that the song service in our church is the most Biblical ministry that everyone can participate in. Not only is the book of Psalms filled with verses that explain that we should lift our voices to God in song, the New Testament encourages us to do so as well. Colossians 3:16 is my favorite verse explaining the benefits of singing godly songs with your church congregation, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.“
2. Being on time gets your heart ready to sing. People who start the song service on time are geared up for participating and singing the songs in the church song service more than people who come in to the church service late. Being prompt prevents you from being distracted and allows the music to speak to your heart right away.
3. Smiling encourages others. Smiling encourages your music director and it encourages people around you… but not just smiling by itself, smiling while you sing! Did you know that when you sing your music director can see what you are going through in your life? Your countenance tells all. If you make a point to smile while you sing you can help your feelings to join the atmosphere especially if you are having a bad day or are going through personal struggles. Smiling while you sing does a heart good! It can even be heard in your voice and encourage people around you.
4. Talking distracts. It distracts you from the song service, it distracts others who are trying to sing but are focused on watching you talk, and it distracts the music director. Be polite and save what you are going to talk to someone about until after the service. Be involved in the singing portion of your service and the listening portion if you have special music that is being played or sung. This would also include the ever popular form of talking through text, please put your phone away and sing to the Lord!
5. Joyful noises are welcome. We all know those people who can’t carry a tune in a bucket and sometimes we can hear them singing behind us in the middle of our song service, even though at times you may shudder, be thankful for them. Your music director wishes everyone would participate if they are able. If you’re not choir material please make your own joyful noise unto the Lord!
6. Refusing to sing says a lot about your heart. It is much better to be someone who sings with a “joyful noise” rather than be a person who is not participating. Men are generally the type of people who refuse to sing because they are self-conscious or view singing as an activity for “other people.” The familiar hymn Marching to Zion says in the second verse, “Let those refuse to sing who never knew our God; but children of the heavenly King may speak their joys abroad.” At the point of salvation, we receive a new heart that should be full of the praises of God and our mouths should be filled with a new song. Even if you are not accustomed to singing, participate as an evidence of your conversion. Psalm 40:3, “And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God:“
7. Sound equipment and instruments are expensive. If you really want to annoy your music director then abuse the sound equipment or allow your kids to. Microphones, speakers, wiring, the sound board, pianos and other instruments are costly and your church probably spent thousands of dollars on that equipment to be able to be used. When sound equipment is played with or broken then often times it is an inconvenient expense to have it replaced. There may be a period of time before a replacement can be purchased which means that equipment meant for God’s use is being unused. Please be a good steward of God’s money and the items that have been provided for the music department and teach your children to respect them as well.
8. The talent you have to sing must be used within the existing ministry’s needs or requirements. For years our church had a policy that every person that wanted to sing special music (solos, etc.) had to be a member of our church choir. This policy came about because there were individuals that believed their voices “too good” for the choir and were only interested in promoting their voice selfishly. Many people will move to a new church and declare their singing talent to the music director with specific ideas in mind that they would like to do with their talent without realizing there is already a music program in place with specific requirements. Be a servant who is willing and flexible to meet the existing ministry needs and requirements to use your talent for the Lord.
9. The video and sound booth are off-limits. One of my husband’s biggest pet peeves is when people distract the operators working in the sound and video booths (we have two) so that when adjustments or instructions need to be given they cannot do their job. Please respect service times as a time when the sound operators are working. Their ministry is a unique type of work. Sound problems during services are distractions that may cause someone not to be able to focus on the service or preaching time. This is also a place that is off-limits because of the high cost of the equipment.
10. The people who use their talents for church music have time invested in practice. To effectively play or sing music it takes time, energy, and dedication by practicing. Respect those people who give of that time for the Lord and teach your kids to do so also. Listen to the message of the song that is being played or sung. When someone is singing or playing they do not want to see or hear people whispering or laughing when they have spent time and are hoping to convey a godly message through that song. It may dishearten them from wanting to play or sing again.
As you can tell, many of the things in this list are just exercising common etiquette and courtesy in your church but this is specifically in the area of music. If you know someone who would benefit from this article, please pass it on!
Erica was called to ministry when she was 12 years old and loves to work in church beside her husband who is a music director at a Baptist church in the Southwest. They have been married since 2004 and have 4 children, 2 sons and 2 daughters ages 9-2. She has a heart for helping ministry women be able to break down the everyday ministry tasks and/or problems. She writes ministry tips and what the Lord works in her life at TheMinistryMama.com. Her favorite Bible verse is Philippians 2:16, “Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.”