It happened to me again… each time it happens I resolve to do everything I can to make sure it never happens again… and yet, it always does. I cry out to God to change things… change us… change me… then I see it happen again; makes my heart sad.
I was standing there, holding a crying woman. The ‘ministers’ were in the background, discussing how to make the ministry run more smoothly. Didn’t they see her? She was standing off to the side – trying to be brave, but obviously struggling. The conversation among the ‘ministers’ was important – how to do their ministry with excellence… sound, lights, order of events, etc. etc. Were they too busy to notice her? Surely, they weren’t avoiding an uncomfortable situation by keeping busy ‘doing ministry’? But there I was… not a ministry professional, not at a ministry event I helped lead, not a trained counselor… just one person holding another crying person, giving what comfort I could through a rough time.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
Romans 12:15 NIV
But for the ministers –
It was another ministry opportunity lost.
I wish I could tell you this was an isolated event. I wish I could say I have never seen a Christian band so busy with their performance that they lose ministry opportunities. I wish I could say I have never heard a Christian band member say that it is not their job to minister to individual people.
Yes, we need to do every aspect of our music ministry with excellence. We need to be excellent at booking, songwriting, performing, merchandising etc. We need to educate ourselves and apply what we learn to present and promote the Gospel with excellence. Anything less can be sinful.
“If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” James 4:17 NIV
But, let us never forget why we are here… in music ministry… to touch minds, hearts, and spirits with the love of Jesus. All the tasks of the ministry, including performing on stage, are supposed to exist to help us do more and better ministry.
Let us never confuse doing the tasks of our ministry excellently with true ministry excellence. We are excellent at ministry when we love people to Jesus… more people plus more love equals greater kingdom impact. We are excellent at doing the tasks of ministry when we are doing all we can to facilitate ministry excellence. I hope this concept is crystal clear: the tasks of ministry are always less important than loving people.
‘Always’ means ‘even when it is not convenient’.
Ideally, every music ministry would have a team of people to get both the tasks of the ministry and the ministry done at the same time. But face it, none of us lives in ‘ideally’. There will be times when we as music ministers have to choose between tasks and a person, between a long sound check and talking to a hurting heart, between packing up quickly to get back on the road and spending some of our travel time praying for a desperate soul. The easy way out is simply not to see, not to look for the hurting, desperate people. But that is not the way Jesus took.
…and so I resolve once again, I pray, that I will continue to stop whatever I am busy doing, whenever I am busy doing it, to have excellent ministry… to extend the loving heart of Jesus to whomever will receive it, where and whenever they are open to receive it. I will fail at times, and I will succeed at others. But each year I get better. This year I will do better than ever.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV
Are you joining me in this resolution? Leave a comment to encourage other music ministers to do so as well.
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