Qualities of a Good Music Leader
Music is a strong influence on a church. Because of the public nature of music performance within the church, it is normal for a song leader, music director, or church pianist to gain influence and followers. When done correctly, this is a good thing, and it strengthens the camaraderie within the church. However, if the pastor and the music leader do not agree about an issue, great harm can be done if the music leader publicly criticizes the pastor’s direction.
You may have the title of music director or music coordinator, but the head of the music program is still the pastor. He is responsible for the overall direction and vision of the church.
If you are looking to test your motivations and loyalty, how do you respond when the pastor shoots down your fantastic idea? Be willing to submit to his leadership and understand that be may see something that you do not.
The music ministry is all about motivation. A music director will often feel like a glorified cheerleader with chants of “You can do it!”
Singing or playing in front of people makes many nervous and uncomfortable. When you couple that with a negative or even neutral attitude, it will only further hinder you.
Positivity breeds positivity. You need energy and excitement to attract new participants. No one wants to join a negative environment or what feels like a sinking ship.
Remember that you are working with volunteers. The majority of your singers and instrumentalists work full-time jobs and are trying to raise families. Be considerate of their schedule and patient enough to let them grow in a healthy, timely way. Your workers will never be as passionate about your ministry as you, the leader, feel.
Building a strong music ministry is not an overnight process. There may be things you can enhance immediately, but actual growth involves recruiting more people and better training and confidence for the ones you currently have. Both take time.
Church music ministry is an environment that can quickly change. People get sick, go on vacation, the pastor changes the order of service, a guest singer becomes available, or the pastor changes his mind.
These changes can happen during the week, Sunday morning, or even during the service. Don’t be so rigid in your thinking that changes ruin your joy in service. It is understandable for changes to sometimes bring you out of your comfort zone, but that doesn’t mean that there should be strict limitations based on your nervousness.
You need to communicate with your pastor regarding your skill level and what quick changes mean for you. The pastor wants to keep the quality level of the service up and will likely try to work in a happy medium. On your end, you need to continue to train and grow your abilities, so that changes are less impactful, and the pastor has more freedom.
This quality allows you to manage expectations and not drive your people into the ground or frustrate them with material too difficult for their current skill level.
Developing a heart for your people means you will desire for them to grow and have the best possible ministry to serve in. This quality also facilitates your patience and understanding when things do not go as well as you had hoped for.
Music ministry combines very dangerous qualities such as gifts, talent, success, and public praise. You work hard for your success, and I believe you should enjoy it, but don’t let it develop into pride. Treat praise and criticism the same. Do not allow either to dominate your thinking and remember that success and failure are both equally available in every situation.
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Bro. Waterhouse serves as the Chairman of the Music Department at Golden State Baptist College. He also serves as a pianist and singer at NVBC.