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Thread: Minister of Music compared to MD/Organist who "develops the music ministry"

  1. #11
    p Piano Steve Freides's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbird604 View Post
    ... So you might think about actually entering into that small measure of spiritual union with your choristers, even though it is outside the expected domain of a choir director. A brief and heartfelt non-sectarian prayer offered by the director at the close of a rehearsal might be a very warm and uniting bit of ritual that the choir would genuinely come to love.
    John, food for thought, for sure. You're right - even though it's not something I've ever done, it isn't something I should write off as something I'll never do, either.

    Thank you very much.

    -S-

  2. #12
    fff Fortississimo davidecasteel's Avatar
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    Concerning leading the Choir in prayer, that is not necessarily a task for the Choir Director, Music Director, Minister of Music, etc. The Adult Choir at my church has a designated Chaplain, who is both a singer and an ordained UMC pastor (not on the staff). And we currently also have 2 retired pastors in the Choir (did have 3, but the former MoM retired from the Choir last week due to aging issues--when he retired he went to another church for 5 years to allow the new Director to settle in, then just joined the Choir as a Tenor). The Choir has a slate of officers who are voted into office each fall and serve for one or more years. The Chaplain is just one of those positions (and has been filled by the same person for a number of years now--no term limit). At the end of each rehearsal, the Chaplain is called to render a short presentation/prayer, and then the President goes over any issues facing the body. Just before dismissal, the entire body stands, joins hands, and sings "Alleluia". Although the current Chaplain is ordained, the job description does not require it--the UMC supports "lay ministry" and would accept any person willing to take on the responsibility.

    David

  3. #13
    p Piano Steve Freides's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidecasteel View Post
    Concerning leading the Choir in prayer, that is not necessarily a task for the Choir Director, Music Director, Minister of Music, etc. The Adult Choir at my church has a designated Chaplain, who is both a singer and an ordained UMC pastor (not on the staff). And we currently also have 2 retired pastors in the Choir (did have 3, but the former MoM retired from the Choir last week due to aging issues--when he retired he went to another church for 5 years to allow the new Director to settle in, then just joined the Choir as a Tenor). The Choir has a slate of officers who are voted into office each fall and serve for one or more years. The Chaplain is just one of those positions (and has been filled by the same person for a number of years now--no term limit). At the end of each rehearsal, the Chaplain is called to render a short presentation/prayer, and then the President goes over any issues facing the body. Just before dismissal, the entire body stands, joins hands, and sings "Alleluia". Although the current Chaplain is ordained, the job description does not require it--the UMC supports "lay ministry" and would accept any person willing to take on the responsibility.
    Very good, David, and thank you. You're right - one of the most striking things to me about the UMC service at our church is that it's started, every week, by a lay member of the congregation, who welcomes everyone, leads several prayers, announces the first hymn, and then the leadership of the service is turned over to the minister. It's a good thing for me to keep in mind. And so is offering to any member of the choir who wishes to lead a prayer the opportunity to do so.

    -S-

  4. #14
    mf Mezzo-Forte musikfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Freides View Post
    Thank you, Larry.

    Here's what, besides considering another job, got me thinking about all this: I recently subbed in the choir at another church whose Christmas Eve service was at a different time than mine. The organist led a prayer at the end of the choir rehearsal. That isn't something I'd feel comfortable doing, and I know his title isn't just MD/Organist but Minister of Music.

    There is ministering as a word for helping, guiding, assisting, etc.. There is also Ministering in an official capacity in a religion, being a Minister. You are saying, if I understand you correctly, that anyone who is a Minister is also ministering and I certainly hope that's true, but I question if the reverse is also true. I don't know anything about this, but I suspect that some denominations ordain their Ministers of Music - could anyone confirm this?

    Thank you again for the conversation thus far.

    -S-
    I recently was asked to step on staff at our small baptist church as the "Music Director", but the position is actually considered to be a "Minister" of music. The pastor and I have talked and I plan to eventually become ordained in the future, although it is definitely not required ( I am already licensed as a minister, though). We look at the worship/music leader as one who is leading our folks into worship and adoration of the Lord. Music is simply another way to proclaim the gospel and to help folks to "declare God's worth" in our lives - telling Him how much He means to us because of what He did for us in giving us His Son to die on the cross to for forgiveness of sins. My role as worship leader is to encourage but also to teach and model to the congregation what this looks like through music. I plan music that fits thematically with whatever the sermon is for the week, and we always try to be sure that our lyrics, whether hymns or choruses, are biblically focused and give a very clear message of what it means to walk in a relationship with Christ and what it means to grow in our faith. Because of the fact that our musical worship is so very impacting, our lead pastor considers the music position to be significantly similar to that of any other pastoral role- providing shepherding and spiritual leadership to the folks in the congregation - but through musical worship. After all, we are not just singing tunes - we are using lyrics to declare the value of our Lord and Savior in our lives, which is the ultimate goal of our church music (That being said, there is definitely a place in the service for music without words which can also be glorifying to the Lord). We don't want music in the church simply "for the sake of having music". It has to have a deeper purpose. Otherwise, you could just put any type of music in church and be done with it. The job of leading folks into the presence of the Lord is, in my opinion, a very sacred trust and calling - something that cannot be taken lightly. Church leaders have great impact on the church body.

    All of that being said, I humbly submit these thoughts to you - something to consider as we engage in the role of music leaders in the church.
    Craig

    Hammond L143 with Leslie 760
    Allen MOS 300-C

  5. #15
    p Piano Steve Freides's Avatar
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    Thank you, Craig.

    As others have observed, not everyone looks at the position as you do. There can be a distinction between leading the people into worship and leading the people in the music that leads them into worship. Both kinds of churches are home to many devout Christians, and it's my hope that you see the value in other way, too.

    -S-

  6. #16
    pp Pianissimo crapmaster's Avatar
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    My title is Minister of Music and I have no education or experience that relates to being any kind of minister. I believe in God, but wouldn't identify myself as Christian. I think the priest does assume I'm a true believer, but he's never asked about it. If it came up in conversation I would be honest with him. Truthfully, I think the only reason he chose that particular title (and it was a recent change - my predecessor's title was Director of Music) is because the staff musician has little say over what music we use, so I don't really "direct" anything but am expected to give input on the program - thus it's more than just "organist." (no choir)

  7. #17
    p Piano Steve Freides's Avatar
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    @crapmaster - great forum username - your story is good to hear.

    -S-

  8. #18
    Moderator jbird604's Avatar
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    RE: being honest with the priest... I wouldn't encourage you to do otherwise, especially if you know him well enough to trust him with a spiritual matter like that, and trust him not to have a knee-jerk reaction. It may be perfectly good to be fully open with one priest or pastor, and then turn out to be disastrous to do the same with another one.

    Back in 2010, my wife and I were fairly happy and secure in the church where we'd been highly involved, had good friends, had raised our kids, taught classes, and led the music program as volunteers for 17 years. A relatively new pastor was in place, one who was admittedly far too conservative for us, but we were tolerating him best we could and keeping out of his way. But we deeply disagreed with him on a very personal issue involving the sexuality of two very close family members, and could hardly contain our anger when he made crude and hateful homophobic remarks in the pulpit, even though he didn't know about our situation specifically and was not directing them at us.

    Eventually I felt like I could confide in him and that he just might be more open than I'd thought, that he might be willing even to moderate his own beliefs. But no. Within hours of my honest attempt to come clean and level with him I was being told to surrender my keys and get my stuff out of the church and that I would not be allowed to play the organ or have any role other than a pew-warmer until I "repented" and came to my senses and agreed with him. That was the end, of course.

    And it turned out to be for the best, or at least we made the best of it. We found a new place to worship and minister in another city, where we and our family are 100% accepted and affirmed, and enjoy our ministry immensely, though we still miss our friends from the old church and the town we had adopted as our own. So just be careful and don't over-share unless you are fully prepared for the consequences!
    John
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  9. #19
    f Forte regeron's Avatar
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    I find a number of organists (especially those who have worked in a variety of denominations) to have spiritual lives that are more mature and well-developed than some pastors I've run into. Said pastors might have grown up in one or two congregations, did their studies, then started preaching on their own. Their spiritual experiences have been so limited that I feel they have unintentionally short-changed themselves, and in turn, they will short-change their congregations.

    In such situations, the organists have all confided in me and others about the breadth of their own spiritual knowledge and understanding, but would never declare the same to their less-experienced pastors, and these pastors would never acknowledge their own relative lack of experience, instead claiming that because they are "moved by the spirit" they don't need anything else.

    A modern example of "The Emperor's New Clothes."

    Not all pastors fall into this category.

    Then again, come to think of it, no pastor has actually seriously asked me about my understanding of spiritual matters; either because they're afraid to, or they think it'll just be a waste of time - because I'm not ordained, there's no way I could have any kind of opinion that counts.

    But I don't mind. During this morning's sermon, the pastor contradicted himself without knowing it, saying that we need to leave our intellect at home and instead worship with our emotions, then he continued by saying we have to worship God with our whole being - heart, MIND, and soul. He hates applause in church, wishing that we sit quietly after a moving solo or choir anthem, yet he wants us to get to a place of 'moving with the spirit', even dancing if we were so moved.

    I pretend to take sermon notes, but in reality I'm doing my to-do lists for the week.

    Returning to the original question about Minister of Music as a title. I believe that the expectations of a Minister of Music are different than a Director of Music or Organist; there is an implication of spiritual leadership. This expectation does not, however, prevent anyone with a different title from providing the same spiritual leadership. I firmly believe that my choices of instrumental, choral, congregational and soloist's music have a very direct effect on the spiritual life of our whole church community. I'm a Director of Music, with no desire to be a Minister of Music.
    Last edited by regeron; 04-23-2018 at 03:21 AM. Reason: grammar and word choices for clarity

  10. #20
    pp Pianissimo voet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by regeron View Post
    I find a number of organists (especially those who have worked in a variety of denominations) to have spiritual lives that are more mature and well-developed than some pastors I've run into. Said pastors might have grown up in one or two congregations, did their studies, then started preaching on their own. Their spiritual experiences have been so limited that I feel they have unintentionally short-changed themselves, and in turn, they will short-change their congregations.
    In my last church position, the pastor had a party for the staff at Christmas time. The youth pastor thought it would be fun to play games, so she created a quizz of our Bible knowledge. (Not exactly my idea of a fun way to relax during the holidays.) The interesting thing is that my spouse and I had the highest scores. It was evident that we knew the Bible better than our pastor, who had been trained in seminary and had been a pastor for about 40 years.

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