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Title: Six tips for relating to church musicians

August 11, 2013

Here are six tips for pastors for dealing with music and music staff in the life of the church:

1. Hire musicians who are as emotionally mature as possible. Talent is important, but the ability to work with others and be supervised by someone is at least as critical.

2. Coach the musicians to respond maturely to criticism from the congregation.

3. Stay connected with your musicians. Work on your relationship with them.

4. Teach music leaders (if they don't already know it) to use music as a way to enhance worship, not as an end in itself. Some musicians will find this easier than others. Be patient, but if they can never see this point, you may need another musician.

5. Keep your sense of humor in this above all areas, as in so many others. Don't take criticism of the worship service personally. Stay aware of your own tendency to get defensive and to defend the musicians to the congregation. Defensiveness rarely helps.

6. Develop your own clear philosophy of music and its contribution to worship. Share that with lay leaders and with musicians in a self-defining and non-blaming way: "That's just the way I see it."

Musicians doubtless have their own list for pastoral leaders. Clergy and musicians bear an equal responsibility for staying clear, for staying in touch with each other, and for managing their own attitudes.


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