Serving a church as a staff member is an in-depth study in relationships. In any size church, leaders will encounter many different kinds of people…and when you factor in each one of those people’s individual stories and life experiences, the variables of how you relate to them all are infinite.
My brother-in-law used to say, “The ministry would be great if it weren’t for people.” He was kidding – I think.
In worship leadership, there can be even more challenges because with every one of those unique personalities comes a unique preference of music style. It seems many leaders of a dynamic music ministry will have to face every kind challenge – from multiple personalities – and that’s just with the deacon chairman.
Here are three suggestions to help you build relationship equity with the people you lead – these are the kind of suggestions I wish I had understood about twenty-five years ago.
- Realize that people are not your problem – they are your prize. Some musicians can fall into the trap of thinking a well executed music service is the ultimate goal of your work. Such a mindset can posture you to see the people that are not serving your vision to be obstacles. But it just isn’t true. You are not there to present music. You are there to develop disciples. And every person in your church falls into the group of people you are called to serve.
- Run toward the sceptics. Human nature would be to resist people that seem to be against you. You duck into the Sunday School room when you see them coming and avoid eye contact and interaction of any kind – even with their family members. But the opposite is actually better. Pursue the ones that seem distant. Take them to lunch and listen to their story. Express the heart behind what you are doing. Listen to their advice and even learn from their perspective. They will quickly become friends and allies if you only take the time and energy to know them and allow them to know you.
- Resist the write-off. More than a few times over the years, I have heard a worship leader (when discussing his critics) say something like, “Those people don’t get what we’re doing anyway. I’m not going to waste my energy trying to win them over. I’m shaking the dust off my sandals.” If this is something you have said before, go back and read #1 again. True, you won’t be able to win everyone over that isn’t following your leadership. And caring about serving them can, and will, cause you pain as you try to build trust. But people are the point. And energy spent trying to encourage and serve is energy well spent. If you get in the habit of “writing-off” the problem sheep of the flock, pretty soon, you won’t have much of a flock left.
If you will spend spiritual energy and focus investing in relationships with the people you serve, and serve with, you will find your relational account balances growing to the point that small withdrawals (mistakes) won’t bankrupt them. You will have the trust of the people you lead. And when you have that, you can pursue, together, the vision God has for your church without the distractions of mistrust.
And you’ll get an A+ in Relationship Economics 101.