One of my biggest struggles at St. Paul's is our music ministry - we have very little. When I arrived, we had two organists who were members of our congregation. One has died and the other moved away. This leaves us with music students - who, let's be honest, are not always the most reliable although I really do appreciate their efforts. Often we find ourselves singing accapella. We're getting good at that but it means that we can't try too many new things.
Part of the problem is that I have been a member of a number of congregations so I find it difficult to remember which hymns are the ones St. Paul's knows and which are the ones that just my family knows. I've tried having a hymn chosing committee but this has not been successful. I've tried suggestion boxes and having various people chose the hymns but this has not seen much success either.
It leaves me struggling to arrange the music, always conscious of the displeasure of the people when I muss up. I think I could just about pray anything without complaint but music is almost a sacred cow. It doesn't help when I get slack about double checking tunes to familiar hymns. We sang - What a Friend We Have in Jesus. I figured I couldn't go wrong with that - everyone knows it. Well okay, everyone knows it but not to the tune that is in Common Praise. And wouldn't you just know. I never thought to check the tune when I chose the hymn. I didn't even think there could be more than one for such a old well known hymn.
Ohh boy. Apology time again. I suppose we could have looked for the tune we knew but that takes time and it's not fair to spring changes on organists at the last minute unless they are ones that know our music well. So muss up no. 1.
Actually that was muss up no. 2. The first came in the opening hymn which everyone knew. Which I thought I knew. So when the organist started before I had found it in my hymn book, I wasn't worried. I usually know the first verse of the older hymns. Unless of course, Common Praise decides to change the words. Then, as I'm trying to find the hymn and singing from memory, the congregation and I are singing different words - not a lot different but in a situation where I am required to lead the singing (which is because we have no choir) it does get a little tough.
I pray often for help in the music ministry area. I have enough basics but I would dearly love to have someone to take over responsibilty for this ministry. It takes far too much of my time. So if anyone is inspired to pray for something for my wonderful community - please pray for this.
I know there is a lot more that may be more important but at the moment this is a concern and distraction that are keeping me from those possiblty more important things - although, it is obviously very important to my people as it is the aspect of our worship that gets the most criticism. My "tweaking" of the services rarely raises an eybrow and my sermons don't often raise a comment (I wish they did, it would show that someone was listening). But something going wrong with the music is an issue. (Don't get me wrong, I'm not faulting my people on this - our music is something that obviously speaks strongly to them and I would agree on its that it speaks very strongly to the soul - more than just the spoken word).
So, if you could find a little time to say a prayer or two, I would greatly appreciate it.
Love and Prayers,