In part one of this two part series, Phil Nitz shared why teamwork is so important in a choir. In this post, Phil writes about how the individuals in a choir can truly come together and work as a community that glorifies the Lord.
The choir is the “church within the church.” As each individual gives of their time and talent for the whole, so too can the whole lift one individual up when he or she is in need. We pray for each other. We celebrate birthdays, weddings, and newborn babies together. We mourn with each other at funerals. We worship together, both in services and rehearsals. We help raise money for the couple who feels called to adopt a neglected baby in India, and we give a ride home to the widow who doesn’t have a car.
However, for anyone who feels looked over, unappreciated, discouraged, frustrated, or just plain unmotivated, let me first say that I completely understand. We’ve all been there. We all want to be noticed, and we all want to feel like our contribution matters.
I’d like to suggest three ways to deal with these feelings in a productive way:
- Endear yourself to the people around you. Reach out to your fellow choir members, bandmates, or co-workers and get to know them on a deeper level than just their name and how long they’ve been attending the church. Take them to dinner, bring them their favorite snack to rehearsal, or get them a birthday card. You could sit next to someone for years and never know anything about them, but you’d be amazed at how easy and rewarding it is to spend just a few minutes getting to know them. Those few minutes could lead to a lifetime of friendship and partnership in Christ that will make your experience significantly more special.
- Engage your environment in any way possible. Think of ways you can contribute without being asked. See a need and fill it. You could, for example, pick up trash left behind in the choir loft or rehearsal room. You could offer to touch up the paint on those black stools on stage that have been scratched and scraped after years of abuse from the acoustic guitar player. You could show up to rehearsal with bottles of water for everyone – just because. The more you try to think of ways to contribute, the more ideas will come to you. It’s incredibly rewarding! Don’t be a spectator. Get involved and make a difference.
- Enlarge your viewpoint. Take off the blinders and see that there’s a whole room of people who are working together to create something special. Even when one person is being featured for something like a solo, recognize that a success for them is a success for you too. When they look good, you look good. More importantly, they are honoring God with their gift, and so are you. If we are each doing our best with what we’ve been given, and we are doing so for the glory of God (and not ourselves), then we are doing it right.
Regardless of whether you’re sad, happy, or indifferent, remember to pray for your leaders. These people have been called by God to serve and do an often thankless job for the Kingdom. Encourage them, help them, and respect them, even if that’s not always the easiest thing to do. They’re not superhuman. They’re flawed just like anyone else, but they need their team as much as their team needs them.
I’ll leave you with a beautiful illustration I heard given at a conference here in Nashville. Ian Cron, a brilliant author and songwriter, was talking to us about the evidence of God in nature. He brought up the concept of a triad, or as we’ve dubbed it in the church world, “three-part harmony.” Ian sang a note and assigned it to a handful of people. Then he sang the third and fifth above that note and assigned those notes to some people just the same. He had us all sing our notes at once on a simple “laaaaaaaaaah.”
“The beauty of this,” he said, “is that each of you was singing your own part, a note that can exist on its own without any help, but when you all sang together, those individual notes formed something completely different. The three notes working together formed a chord – a rich and beautiful collection of sounds far more powerful than the individual sounds that make it up.”
“This,” he said, “is perhaps the best illustration we have of the Trinity.”
As we strive to be ambassadors of heaven here on earth, let’s remember that God is the most perfect example of one body functioning in many ways. We are called to be His hands extended here on earth, but we’re not capable of doing so alone.
It takes a team.
About the author :
Phil Nitz serves as Staff Arranger and Worship Leader at Christ Church Nashville. Upon earning his Master’s Degree in Church Music from Lee University, Phil began his career in Nashville in 2013 and is quickly becoming a sought-after arranger, orchestrator, and vocalist. Though he is well-acquainted with many varying styles, both vocal and instrumental, Phil feels most at home leading worship with his guitar in hand or directing the Christ Church Choir.