Thursday, February 22, 2007
Music Director and the Three Bears
Do you remember the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears? While the Bear family is all away, Goldilocks enters the Bears' house. When the Bears come home they discover evidence of an intruder. Their porridge, which was on the table waiting for their return, had been eaten, at least in part, and their beds had been slept in. When they finally discover Goldilocks in Baby Bear’s bed she tells the story of what happened. She was hungry so she tried their porridge. Remember what was wrong with Papa Bear’s dish? It was too hot. What about Mama Bear’s dish? It was too cold. But Baby Bear’s dish was just right. The same thing happened with their beds. Papa Bear’s bed was too hard. Mama Bear’s bed was too soft. But Baby Bear’s bed was just right.
I think the same story can be told about the life of a Worship Arts Director, Music Director, or Worship Pastor in a local church. This is the one area in the local church that deals with the greatest variety of preferences among people. On a regular basis worship and music directors receive feedback that covers a wide variety of preferences.
• Some want more hymns while others request fewer hymns.
• Some feel different instruments such as the drums or bass are too loud while others have asked for these areas to be increased in volume.
• Some like larger numbers of singers leading us in worship while others enjoy having just a lead singer along with one or two other vocalists.
• Some want more solos and special music while others prefer that the music is always participatory for everyone in the congregation.
While every piece of constructive criticism should be taken seriously, it is just not feasible for a worship director to adjust the worship and music ministry to each comment that is received. No matter what direction they take on a given Sunday regarding style, participants or volume, it will miss the mark of a segment of people’s preferences.
As a result, the leadership of our Worship Arts Ministry here at Grace Church takes seriously the need to make all of these decisions based on a ministry strategy which includes much thought, prayer and planning. They put much time into focusing on the theme of the morning and they have a purpose behind every decision they make. Unfortunately, the result will never be a Sunday in which every person who attends will be in perfect agreement that everything about the music and worship was just perfect.
Fortunately, worship is not about preferences but rather it is a Spirit led response to a truth about God. That is what I appreciate most about those who make these decisions each Sunday here at Grace Church. Whatever style is used, whatever the volume, and whoever the participants may be, the focus is always a Biblical truth about God.