The season is here.
And in some churches, the last few weeks leading up to the annual Christmas extravaganza makes “Black Friday” seem like a trip to the library. Tensions are high and the pressure is on as a construction crew turns the sanctuary into a 19th century theater set and the choir suite becomes a wardrobe room that would be envied by 20th Century Fox.
And it’s all in Jesus’ name.
Now, wait a minute. Those of you that have known me through the years are saying, “Hold on! Didn’t you do the same thing?” Yes – I have to honestly admit large-scale productions were a big part of my life as a Minister of Music for years.
It took some time, but over those years, I began to realize I might have been hurting the ministry of our church as I was helping it. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Remember these four “first” thoughts as you change out your band-aids on your blisters this weekend.
- Families are first. If your production requires the families of the people you lead to sacrifice their time with each other and interrupt the flow of their usual activity, you need to dial something back. Rehearsing every night and going all the way into the bedtime hours will have its affect on the entire family – and yours.
- Put your team together first. Think about your major production like an assembly line. Find the right people to put in the right places and let them fly. You can’t and shouldn’t do it all. The only right way to scale a production without ruining the lives of your volunteers is to find leaders, start early, take it in small bites, and develop a team.
- Keep the church first. As important as your production is – as an outreach event and a way to impact the community – it should not take over the life of your church so that nothing else can live in its wake. This time of year is important to all of the ministries of the church. Be sensitive to the needs of other programs happening at this time of year. Be a team player.
- Keep your spiritual objectives first. I’m afraid some churches have two Ministers of Music – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The much-loved Dr. Jekyll serves January through October, but Mr. Hyde takes over about mid-way through the fall.
Ever had this said of you? Don’t approach him right now – he’s in pageant season. You really can’t talk to him before Christmas.
Brothers and Sisters – this ought not be. We should always lead spiritually first, no matter what the production demands.
Warning – Big statement coming!
If you can’t plan and prepare a large scale production without hurting the families that serve with you, dominating the budget and calendar of your church to the point of shutting down other ministries, and morphing into a leader that no one can stand to be around until it’s all over, then I’d say it’s time for an intervention.
Don’t play the role of Scrooge this Christmas.
Mike Harland is the Director of LifeWay Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book. In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family. Mike can be found on Twitter @MikeHarlandLW and on facebook.com/Mike.Harland.37.