Advice to the Minister of Music: Get a Giant Hat Rack by Cheri Walters

By Cheri Walters

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Jeanie attributes her musical growth to the acceptance and encouragement of her first choir director who, when he couldn’t compliment her voice, praised her enthusiasm. - . 1 do theiribéstltogrowginto thélrole. musicImihi cularly with volunteer musicians, we wrestle with the seemingly conflicting objectives of presenting to God our very best musical offering while accepting the efforts of those with less than perfect musical abili- ties. Cultivating excellence in music is a worthy goal, but it must not take precedence over the people who make the music.

M"‘O"C' I’ve been on the other side of the baton as a choir member whose director screamed and yelled and threw tantrums—and sheet music and chairs and other movable objects. I watched that professing Christian use his rapier to lacerate the selfesteem of young singers. Was the result a better musical product? Not at all. VVhat he got was an us-against-him polarization of feelings within the group. Even if his scare tactics had improved the musical quality, a siege mentality set in that prevented ministry from taking place.

When y9111‘<=h0i<=a-i§ paaplavaraaa Parfarmaaaa». Whiahdexaa ch‘-bdse? When we put the music abovelfheflmusician, aren’t we '\_ . - maliifig the same mistake as those the apostle Paul said worshiped created things more than the Creator? Several years ago at a music conference, I was privileged to hear Bill Gaither address this dilemma. Speaking to a group of church musicians he warned, “When you get to heaven, you’re not going to be able to wave an Artist’s Exemption Card at God. He’s not going to be impressed when you say, ‘I know I stepped on a few people but You’ll have to excuse me.

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