music ministry

What We Can Learn From Others: Six Things to Listen to, Watch, or Read This Week

What We Can Learn From Others: Six Things to Listen to, Watch, or Read This Week

There's a message that bears endless repeating and living out in our world today: we need each other. 

We live in a world where we are taught to live in fear of those who are different, to question those with differing beliefs, to be defensive and respond to violence with more violence; but the truth is, we need each other.

We need diversity - different perspectives and ways of seeing the world, different skills and approaches, different opinions. Each one of us is unique, in the way we approach the world, the things we create, the skills and talents we cultivate, and the way we use those gifts in service to others. This is a gift, and an opportunity to learn.

Why What We Are Doing Is Important

Why What We Are Doing Is Important

Today's post is written by my church musician friend, Janis Maxwell. She's the Director of Youth Music Ministry and Organist at Athens First United Methodist in Athens, GA. I hope her thoughtful perspective on ministry encourages and blesses you in your work this season.

- Ashley

"Serve the Lord with gladness; come before his presence with singing." - Psalm 100:2

As I reflect on the topic, “Why What We Are Doing Is Important”, this Bible verse pops into my head.

Six Things I Wish I'd Known When I Started in Ministry

Six Things I Wish I'd Known When I Started in Ministry

Hindsight is 20/20, right?

If we knew then what we know now, we probably would have done things differently, handled that situation another way, said “yes” instead of “no” (or vice versa).

But the thing about life is we can only live going forward. We can’t go back and edit our choices later on, though hopefully, we take the time to reflect and learn from our experiences as we go along.

I’ve been doing that lately with ministry. What have I learned over the years? How have I grown and changed? What would I tell my younger self? We all have different answers to those questions, but they’re important to think about and perhaps even voice from time to time. This is how we learn. This is how we grow.

In the spirit of all that, here are six things I wish I’d known when I first started in music ministry:

A to Z: Must-Haves for Your Choir Room and Rehearsals

A to Z: Must-Haves for Your Choir Room and Rehearsals

It’s back-to-school season, which means it’s time for all things Fall, new school supplies, and the start of a new choir year. 

If you’re a planner, like me, and you like things to be organized, you probably spent some time this summer cleaning out choir folders and boxes, straightening up counters and rearranging chairs, getting the piano tuned, and planning music for the Fall and Christmas. You may have even spruced up your choir room a bit, with a new bulletin board, fresh whiteboard markers, and a blank calendar.

What’s missing?

Well, whether you’re working with an adult choir, a youth choir, or a children’s choir, there are a few things every choir room (and rehearsal) should have. Here’s my must-have list, from A to Z:

Non-Salesy Ways to Recruit and Sustain Your Music Ministry

Non-Salesy Ways to Recruit and Sustain Your Music Ministry

Growing a church music program is an important part of what we do as directors and leaders. In building a program, we’re building a place where people of all ages and walks of life can come and learn and grow. We’re creating a safe environment for them to explore and discover and feel loved and supported and encouraged.

Most of you likely inherited your church’s choir program and are building year to year on that foundation. Others of you might be starting from scratch—building a program from the ground up.

Either way, we’re always building, right? Trying new things, finding new things to offer, creating new opportunities for people to come and grow in their faith and knowledge of God, learn about music and develop musical skills, and find new ways to connect to worship.

Some of our biggest challenges as church musicians are recruiting people to be part of the ministry work we do and sustaining that ministry for years to come.

Sound familiar? If so, this post is for you!

Today, I’m sharing five effective tips and strategies for recruiting for your church ministry and outlining several things you can do to help sustain your ministry, now and in the future.

Books for Church Musicians

Books for Church Musicians

Church musicians, in my opinion, have the dual role of making/teaching music and encouraging faith formation within a community. It can be challenging to negotiate these two roles, but I believe ministry is just that - balancing and negotiating, challenging and encouraging, building up and bringing together.

It's not just a job. It's something we pour our hearts into.

Today, I'm sharing a few books to add to your bookshelf (or share with a church musician you know!). Many of these are practical, encouraging reads written by church musicians, for church musicians. What could be better?

For the Church Musician: A Music Program Budget Worksheet

For the Church Musician: A Music Program Budget Worksheet

New year, new budget, right?

Most churches run on a January-December fiscal year, which means it's time to pull out your budget worksheets and start fresh.

Then you remember your budget worksheets are boring, black and white Excel files, with lots of black grid lines, Arial font, and pages that run on forever, which sort of puts a damper on the whole happy "fresh start" thing.

If this sounds familiar, then you're in for a real treat today!

Here is a beautiful, color-coded, auto-fill budget worksheet for your music program, with pretty pie charts and bar graphs to boot!