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Ministry Etiquette

Connecting With Musicians

For any worship service to go over well, everyone who is participating must be connected. At the same time, if there is anyone in whom a minister needs to connect with most in order for a worship service to really be blessed, it's the musicians. Music is important. Find out more inside...
Connecting with Musicians
Written by Rev. Dr. Debora C. Hooper



Connections! Connections! Connections!  Can you believe it?  That's exactly what our modern society has come down to these days; making connections.  And what great and fascinating phenomenon has made this all the more possible, the internet!  Through its workings, people are connecting with people all over the world.  If you don't believe it, just look at the number of subscribers on popular websites like MySpace and Facebook.  Because of them, no longer do people have to suffer with loneliness.  Nowadays, all you have to do is get on the internet, find people that have something in common with you and connect.  But not only are people making casual connections, millions of people are also coming out of their shells to make business connections.  New entrepreneurs especially have done so as a matter of survival.  They too have discovered that making connections is the way to go if their businesses are going to succeed.  Success is important to all of us, and since making connections is a vital part of that goal, I thought it would be a good idea to highlight someone ministers need to connect with as well.

For any worship service to go over well, everyone who is participating must be connected.  At the same time, if there is anyone in whom a minister needs to connect with most in order for a worship service to really be blessed, it's the musicians.  Music is important.  As a matter of fact, in most churches, especially in the black church, the music ministry ranks second to the ministry of the Word.  But of course, it is the musicians, who play the music, that is key.  These anointed and gifted individuals play a very vital part to the success of a worship service.  Their primary role is to work alongside the minister and complement the preached Word.  They do this by enhancing the service through their musical gifts so that the atmosphere is conducive for people to more easily enter into the presence of the Lord.  However, in order to do this, there must be a connection between the minister and the musicians.  Since most ministers are not aware of this, I wrote an entire chapter in my ministry handbook on how to connect with musicians when you go out on a ministry visit.  Here is a highlight of some of the things I wrote:

1.  Musicians, regardless of age or level of ability, want you to see them as a person.  They are so used to people using them for their gifts and then discarding them, that they feel used.  Thus, upon entering the pulpit, ministers should immediately establish a rapport with them by connecting with them eye to eye and acknowledging them with a simple nod or smile.  For those of you that desire for them to play for you, this is golden if you want them to give you their best.  To not do so, could be tragic.

2.  Just as the Lord inspires and anoints you to minister the Word, He also inspires and anoints musicians to play their instruments.  Therefore, at times during the worship service when music is being played, you may ask them to minister a certain way, which they may, and then shift.  When they do, try not to be alarmed.  Because of their anointing and creativity, this action may bring an even greater enhancement to the worship service.  As the minister, of course you are still in control of the service, but now you are just letting the Lord have His way with the both of you complementing each other.  Remember, in any worship service, your ultimate goal is that God would be glorified. And when He does, just let it flow!  On the contrary, if for some reason, the shift does not enhance the service, connect with the musicians (usually the organist who will alert the rest of the orchestra) with a simple nod to alert them to change course.

3.  In a worship service, what you want from musicians is a flow and not a fight!  Therefore some type of communication (verbal or non-verbal) is essential in order to achieve the goal.  No communication, lack of communication or miscommunication between the two of you will only cause the worship service to suffer.  Here are a few common non-verbal signals to use (during an altar call, a song, or exhortation) to connect with them for effectiveness: 

(i) - A raised balled up fist means finish a melody or stop playing

(ii) - A hand or finger in circular motion means to continue playing a melody

(iii) - A thumb pointing backwards means to go to the drive or refrain of a song

(iv) - A hand tapping on the head means restart the song from the top

(v) - A moving hand faced downward means to lower the volume and one faced upward means to raise the volume

4.  It is proper protocol for ministers who desire to bring and utilize their own musicians on a ministry visit to get permission from the host Pastor first.  Don't damage the integrity of your ministry by avoiding this rule.

In closing, I know there are so many other things for you to prepare for, pray about, and consider when going out to minister, but the musicians you will encounter when you arrive at your ministry visit should be also included.  Just like you, they take their ministry seriously and if you connect with them in prayer first, you'll be surprised how easy it is to connect with them during your time of ministry. 


Until next month, blessings for a ministry of excellence!


About Dr. Hooper:
Rev. Dr. Debora C. Hooper is the Author of Hooper's Evangelist & Minister's Handbook and the Pastor of Greater Works Worship Center in Brooklyn, NY.  For ministry invites, questions and comments, reach her at debora.hooper@verizon.net or www.myspace.com/deborahooper. To receive upcoming ministry newsletters and information, join her email list at www.greaterworksworshipcenter.comor www.DeboraHooper.com