Where do Music Ministers Come From?

Where do Worship Music Leaders come from?  (Mars and the Moon are not viable answers)  Though we pray all worship music leaders are called by God, like disciples they are made not born.

The traditional music minister was patterned after an educational model.  In fact, many of the earliest part time music ministry leaders were school teachers and choral directors who served in the church based on their musical know-how.  As music ministry became more complex, educational institutions developed programs to accommodate the churches’ needs.  Music camps, church youth choir trips, mission endeavors, and music festival gatherings all contributed to the development of church musicians of all shapes and sizes.  Music Ministers, who trained under the mentorship of Christian educators who believed in developmental patterns designed on sound educational philosophy, went to work in the church seeking to develop singers, players, accompanists and leaders.  A pattern of perpetuation seemed firmly in place.

We have been through a time when the popularity of Christian music recordings, and media in general have come to dominate influence on much of church music and worship music ministry.  Subsequently, many churches seem to have lost a developmental pattern of bringing up church musicians.  It seems we have gone through a significant amount of time where the importance of rudimentary music and spiritual concept and skill development have been minimalized, overshadowed by a populist approach to inspiration, preferring an environment of entertaining stimulation.  Recent YouTube and Vimeo spoofs on contemporary worship environments have driven home some of the potential harmful results of placing too much confidence in such formula driven approaches including music.  Positive changes are being addressed in many larger churches who are able to conduct Fine Arts Schools, or other instructional program formats.  Conducting classes or private instruction in guitar, drums, keyboards, and other instruments that have contemporary music applications have helped make these schools popular as well as placing developmental patterns back in the church setting.  Medium and smaller size churches that utilize church facility as space for music lessons in similar fashion provide a similar service, some that even have the added feature of a proving ground.

Most of us know of Music Ministry leaders from both of these strands that have enjoyed a measure of success in providing worship music for the church setting in which they serve, and have found ways to continue influence for upcoming generations.  We are richly blessed in Tennessee to have many deeply committed ministry leaders who continue to bring forth talented young musicians with much potential to carry the Gospel message forward through musical expression of varied styles and levels of complexity.  I thank God for the growing determination among so many of our leaders to be certain God’s praise through song continues in their setting “for future generations.”

A great challenge that seems inherent to the task regardless of whether built on an educational model or the latest trends, is keeping children, youth, young adults, and parents engaged.  Developing music skills takes time. Students and parents seem willing to “commit” themselves until the reality hits that time tends to be a mutually exclusive commodity.  If choir and soccer practice are at the same time, a student can not be fully present at both.  Budgeting time to practice guitar chords will not work if all twenty four hours of the day are filled with other engagements.  WHAT CAN WE DO?

I am a strong believer in the application of pastoral authority and ministry.  Music ministers, we need to speak the truth in love!  Lowering standards and making accommodations to the extent that you are running yourself ragged does not work for the long haul.  Senior Pastors need to be kept up to date and encouraged by your appeal to help make the case for practicing biblical stewardship of time and talent as well as finances.  And that includes parental stewardship of parental effort and energy as needed to be certain a child takes part in lessons, rehearsals, and spiritual nurturing such that will avail him or her to those things God wants to develop.  It is high time Music Ministry Leaders call for the best among the people God has given us to lead.  Spoken with sincere conviction and genuine Christlike love, the message will not be easy, but empowered by the Holy Spirit, it can be amazingly effective.

Pentecost   has come!  Allow the Holy Spirit to be alive in you.

Explore posts in the same categories: Choir Ministry, Leading Worship, Singing Worship

3 Comments on “Where do Music Ministers Come From?”

  1. Bob Hull Says:

    Amen, Paul! I read that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice for a pianist to achieve a professional level of ability. Similar investments of time will be required for many other areas of music ministry leadership. King David said at the threshing floor of Araunah, “I will not sacrifice burnt offerings to the Lord that cost me nothing.” 2 Samuel 24:24 Most of our choirs prepare for worship leadership on a starvation level diet of rehearsal time.

    • pclarkjr Says:

      Thank you for your reply, Bob. Your children demonstrate well the result of deep commitment to utilizing their gifts for God’s glory. The road to their level of musical achievement is a great testimony of diligence. It has been a rich blessing just to observe.

  2. Audra Lopez Says:

    You have done it once again. Superb post!

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