Prioritize Ministry During Music Rehearsals

Below is an insightful article on how to best utilize rehearsal time by my friend, Michael Adler, who is the Worship Arts Pastor at Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Enjoy! – Dwayne

Guest post by Michael Adler

michaeladlerheadshot.jpgMy wife and I stepped off of the TRUTH bus in 1983 and began what has now been twenty two years of incredible ministry and life experiences. We had come from a year of professional, high caliber singing in wonderful, big venues. We landed in the heart of the Midwest among salt-of-the-earth people who wanted to serve God with their gifts.

Within a few weeks of beginning my first church job, I realized that God had some major adjusting to do with my heart. He spoke, I listened, and I came to this conclusion. Now that we had surrendered this season of our lives to working in the local church, we had to define just what we thought God wanted to do with our gifts and us. The MINISTRY OF MUSIC had to become an equal distribution of both of those defining words. Ministry must coexist with Music or the music becomes like the “clanging cymbal” or the “noisy gong” referred to in 1 Corinthians 13. I decided that my weekly rehearsal time with those in the music ministry would be spent teaching more than creating beautiful tones, lifting the soft palate, and placing that accent on the “and of two”.

I use my weekly rehearsal time to accomplish several things:

1) Accountability to church leadership and identity with a group smaller than the large congregation. Anyone who does anything musically in our church comes from within the Music and Worship Ministry department. I see them, they see me, and those to whom they minister (in the congregation) can always be assured that the voice or instrument they hear on Sundays is also a heart that is committed to the ongoing ministry of the church.
2) Integration of spiritual insights to our music and our lives. God is the God of all of life, if we allow Him to be so. We laugh together, we pray together, we sacrifice for one another through giving meals or clothing or funds to needy members of our department. I spend the final minutes of each time we meet to share my heart and lead our people toward spiritual truth. I spend more mental energy preparing for those ten minutes than I do for most other things during the week.
3) Musical growth. People grow when they’re given a goal and led deliberately toward that goal. We work very hard to polish our craft and make it a worthy sacrifice to the Lord in praise.

I have also learned that I don’t always have to be the spiritual fountainhead of all truth. Others within our group have experiences and insights from the Lord that motivate all of us toward Jesus. Very seldom am I asked to repeat a profound musical insight after rehearsal is over. Often I am asked for a copy of my devotional or a scripture reference. People want spiritual tools for life. Music is just another tool for us to touch God and another vehicle through which we can do lasting ministry in the lives of those who choose to go with us.

© 2007 Michael Adler.

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