A long time ago, I wrote about leaders in any church ministry needing to be servants, and how I’ve botched up a bunch of my leadership positions in music ministries over the years because of immaturity, ego, selfishness, and a lack of charity. Reading that post got me to thinking some more about the topic, as did a Google search for my old choir.
I recently Googled my old music ministry, the Blue Notes choir, and was amazed at what I saw:
- They’ve increased in number. Whereas we were struggling for 3 years with attendance numbering below 10 on an average Saturday vigil Mass, they are now 15-20 people strong.
- They’ve recruited younger members. Whereas we were all older working stiffs, the new choir is full of students, fresh grads out of college, and even new members of the workforce.
- They’re much more active. They’re singing not only for the Mass, but for other occasions as well: Christmas caroling, Marian concerts at the church, and more.
- They’re making use of new media finally: they have a blog on Multiply, photos on Flickr, videos on YouTube.
- They’re singing much better than I remember.
- They’ve gotten a fresh infusion of enthusiasm via the new members and are being led by a strong musical director.
The only conclusion I can draw from this is that they finally got the ministry leader they deserve: someone who was willing to commit more time to honing and perfecting the choir’s vocal talents, someone willing to bring the choir to other venues to perform, someone willing to recruit a whole bunch of new, young people.
I realize on hindsight that I lacked a proper commitment to lead the choir to its potential, since:
- I didn’t want the name. I refused to be called the musical director (though that was what my tasks consisted of). Instead I wanted to be referred to as the instrumentalist. Weak.
- I didn’t want to be in the liturgical music meetings which the church held on a monthly basis to update choirs about songs, liturgy, and other details. I couldn’t be bothered. I always delegated one of the other senior members to attend those meetings and report to me what they talked about. What an unbelievably snobbish attitude.
- I didn’t ask them to practice more. Instead of a twice weekly practice of one hour, we ended up practicing two hours before the Mass started. Just enough time to teach a new Responsorial Psalm, not enough time to train many voices to sing as one.
- I couldn’t see their potential. I only saw the weaknesses and never strove to bring out the potential greatness in the group’s camaraderie or their musical talents.
I watched a few of their videos on YouTube and thought to myself: “I never thought they were capable of sounding like that.” And maybe therein lies the gist of a leader — in seeing what wonders can be coaxed from the individual people within his group.