We’ve all heard it before: There is no “I” in “Team.” However, it’s impossible to ignore the reality that there is, in fact, an “I” in “Choir.” There’s also an “I” in “Praise Team” and “Worship Department” and, of course, “Guitar Player” (cringe).
Whether we like it or not, no matter how many years we’ve been in ministry, how many worship conferences we’ve attended, or devotions and pep talks and synergistic retreats we’ve provided for our team, there will always be an issue of ego. Somewhere in the ranks, someone will undoubtedly start to feel like they’re either being overlooked and underappreciated or that the magic really starts when they take the stage.
Whatever the case, someone is unhappy because they can’t see the bigger picture. I’ve witnessed it countless times, and I’m afraid I’ve felt that way myself more than once. Meanwhile, the leader of the program is all at once trying to run rehearsals, craft a setlist for Sunday, find new music, plan events, research new equipment, recruit new members, and make sure everyone is happy, and this everyone is not just the musicians.
More than likely, the music director has had to report to his Senior Pastor about the songs he chose for this week’s service. Or, perhaps, he has been given an earful by the oldest and dearest member of the church about how the drummer plays too loud every week.
There’s a lot of pressure on the music director, and if we’re not careful to acknowledge this, there will likely exist a false reality that the entire music program of the church rests on his or her shoulders. However, this is just not the case.
A successful music program does not hinge on one person.
In fact, no program of any kind is successful solely because of the efforts of its leader. Walt Disney had an incredible vision, but he didn’t create his empire by himself. Steve Jobs revolutionized the technological world, but it still took countless programmers, engineers, and twenty-somethings in blue shirts to make Apple what it is today.
God’s Word is filled with references to teamwork and community. In Exodus 18 we read how Moses delegated leadership responsibilities to others in the Israelite community. Jesus surrounded himself with twelve loyal followers to help him in his ministry and build his church after he left the earth. Paul writes on two separate occasions about the concept of Christ’s followers as “one body with many parts,” individually serving and giving of their gifts for the greater good of the whole (Rom. 12:3-8, 1 Cor. 12:12-31).
Did you ever notice the language used in the Lord’s Prayer?
Our Father, who art in heaven….
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
We are in this together. We are all called beloved by the Creator, and we are all a part of something so much bigger than ourselves. This is one reason I’m a big fan of choirs. There’s no better place for people to come together and make something beautiful together than the choir. Choirs are not valued for their individual voices, they are most appreciated as a whole group making one unified sound.
Stay tuned for part two as Phil Nitz shares more insight and tips on the power of teamwork in choir.