Great Expectations: How high should expectations be for choir and worship team member?

Great Expectations: How high should expectations be for choir and worship team members?
By Richard Much

Q: How high do you set expectations for choir or worship team members, and how do you enforce them?

A: From the beginning, I have tried to raise the bar at Saddleback. During the audition process we emphasize three core commitments: commitment to attendance, commitment to spiritual growth, and commitment to musical excellence. Team members are expected to fulfill their commitment to the ministry season by attending at least 80 percent of the rehearsals, sing in all five of the services (once a month), and memorize their songs. We ask that everyone be involved in a small group and make it a priority to complete the church’s core curriculum.

It is not a requirement that a choir, orchestra, or technical team member be a Christian. However, they must not hurt the church’s reputation with their lifestyle. Members that cannot fulfill their commitment may not participate, and they will have to convince the director of a renewed commitment at the next audition. We re-audition the entire choir every year.

But like it or not, people belong to God and not to the director. Therefore, we do not enforce commitment to the music ministry when it might not benefit a person’s spiritual growth. There are seasons of life, and sometimes they come unexpectedly, when a person’s commitment must be reevaluated and changed.

We never take a break from our spiritual commitment to grow, but God’s children should always be evaluating their commitments to activities. I encourage my team to seek God’s will for their life and serve him only. Just like any type of giving, if giving time and energy to the music ministry is not done to please God, it is worthless.

Raising expectations for choir or worship team members will allow you to focus on the people who really want to participate in the ministry. Although that may result in a smaller group, sometimes less is more. As a rule I do not beg for more volunteers, and getting angry or frustrated simply doesn’t work. When I sense a need for more involvement from the church body, I pray and ask God for the workers.

Remember to regularly affirm and thank your core leaders for their faithful commitment to the ministry. And try to keep the choir or music ministry relevant and meaningful. Ask your team for their feedback, and help them feel ownership. When I do that, I usually have all the dedicated workers necessary to carry out the ministry.

This article �Great Expectations� by Richard Much is excerpted from, February 2009.

This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, �Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.�