How to Improve Your Church Music Ministry
Everything that you do for the Lord should be done for His honor and glory. Your music ministry is no exception. It is imperative you set the standard high and settle for nothing less. In order to have a successful music ministry there must be preparation and organization. Without this, any effort to improve your church music ministry will fall short.
Ways to Improve your Church Music Ministry
These ideas will act as an organized blueprint of what songs will be sung and who will sing them. Too often, the lack of preparation and organization are the reasons why many music ministries fail to operate, “decently and in order.” (I Cor. 14:40)
Let me share with you some ways you can improve your church music ministry.
• Follow a written order of service
I am always surprised when I attend a church where no one seems to know what will happen next. To avoid this, write down the common aspects of your worship service, such as: welcome, prayer, choir special, congregational singing, offering, special music, announcements etc. Next, logically organize your list. Be sure to consider the flow of the service in order to minimize movement and distractions. Lastly, give a schedule to those who will be participating in the service. This will assure your service will run smoothly and maximize the time you have to minister.
• Schedule special music ahead of time
I like using the two-month window better then scheduling month by month. It allows those participating in special music to have more time to prepare. They also can notify me sooner when there is a conflict in the schedule.
There are numerous ways to effectively share your special music schedule with your people. Some may hand out printed schedules, some send emails, others post it on a web etc. What works for me is the use of a large dry erase two-month calendar. It is conveniently located in an area where it can be checked regularly in case it changes. The schedule includes who is singing for each service and who will be playing the offertory.
• Start on time – services, rehearsals etc.
When you start your services or rehearsals late, you reward the tardy. Gradually, more people will come in late because they know nothing significant will happen until they arrive. By starting on time, you’re showing you understand the value of their time. A church service that begins on time will allow the pastor plenty to time to preach without feeling rushed. Your people will appreciate your newfound time management skills.
• Keep record of all the music specials
Keeping accurate records of your specials will let you easily see what has been sung. These records will help re-evaluate what has been sung as you plan for future services.
The first thing you’ll need to do is create a form to keep track of your specials. This could be done in Word table, Excel file or a database program. Print a hard copy of the form and give it to someone responsible for recording your service info. Keep track of who sings, what they sing and when they sing. In addition, record of who accompanied the special, who played for the service and every congregational song you sing. The most time consuming part of the task will be periodically inputting the info into the computer.
• Organize your music library
The easiest way to know what’s in your music library is to make a spreadsheet or database. So, when you’re searching for that perfect piece you’ll be able to find it quickly. Having a database allows you to sort your music in variety of useful ways. It can also tell you where your music is stored.
I recommend the following information for each anthem:
• Plan ahead for special meetings
There’s no shortage of special meetings to plan for on the church calendar. I would suggest you start the initial planning for revivals, mission conferences and cantatas at least six-month ahead time. Don’t forget to plan early for the special days such as Fathers Day, Easter, 4th of July, etc. Remember, your musicians may be out of town on certain holidays, so advance planning is of necessity.
• Meet weekly with the pastor
As with any large organizations, keeping everyone in the loop and on the same page is important. Weekly meetings will with the pastor will unify the ministry and avoid conflicts in scheduling. These times allow you to better understand the pastor’s heart and vision for the ministry.
• Prelude 10 minutes before the service
Preluding provides an opportunity for us to quiet our hearts and prepare our minds for worship. This is an excellent way to let other fine pianists have an opportunity to minister. It also creates an inviting atmosphere for the service as people are arriving for church.
• Educate and train others both spiritually and musically
It’s your responsibility as the music leader to supply worthy music at all services of the church. But it’s also important to train singers to sing in a way that will be a blessing to all who hear. During rehearsals take the opportunity to teach music and apply Biblical truth. The closer your church musicians are to the Lord; the better equipped they’ll be to minister for the Lord.
• Prepare a written philosophy of music
Your church music ministry needs to be governed by more than preferences, traditions, and tastes. Hence, a reason to have a music philosophy that is Biblical based. This takes some time to do but will help you communicate the purpose and direction of your music ministry. Such a philosophy is essential in determining your musical choices for your church.
Read books on the subject to gain a better understanding of church music issues. Your church may already have a written philosophy of music, so check first.
Overseeing the music of the church should never be taken lightly. It’s a solemn responsibility that ministers directly to the Lord and then to others. Take time to evaluate all aspects of your ministry. Look for ways, like those above, that you can improve your church music ministry.
The above article, “How to Improve Your Church Music Ministry” was written by David West. The article was excerpted from www.grace4all.com web site. April 2018
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.
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.”