...not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts (Zech 4:6(b)
I am the Lord, that is my name; I will not give my glory to another, Nor my praise to graven images (Isaiah 42:8)
As music ministers, we are accountable to a lot of people. We are accountable to our pastors to run the music ministry as efficiently as possible; to our choir members to respect their time in rehearsal and use that time as wisely as possible; to the congregation to present songs that minister to the needs of the people, and ultimately, accountable to God—He after all is the Giver of our talents. Everything we have belongs to Him, and that includes our musical skill.
But there's another side to what we do – the business side. If you carry the title "Minister of Music" (I hold that "Minister of Music" and "music minister" are not necessarily one and the same; one is a title, the other is a calling--one requires an anointing from the Holy Spirit, the other merely requires administrative ability. In many of our churches the person holding the title does not always operate under God's authority. Neither their lives, nor their musical responsibilities reflect the power of God. There are, however, Ministers of Music who do operate under God's authority, and this is evident from the power that exudes from their ministries.), then you have a say in who gets paid what, and probably have an annual budget to project.
As dedicated musicians, we select music, buy it (or write our own), learn it, teach it, re-teach it, plan special events, coordinate with the sound technicians, ensure the instruments are tuned and in good working order, prepare Power Point presentations, and on and on it goes. And after we've done all that, we still have to not only get ready for church, but get ready for worship. Don't confuse the two; getting ready to come to church is one thing—getting ready for worship is something else.
Worship is a total occupation with God. It is a matter of the heart. Musical practice and preparation are not preparation for worship. You practiced for hours, but how long did you pray? There are places in God we can only go in the Spirit; our flesh won't get us there. All of our labor won't get us there. To prepare for worship is readying your inner man to meet God. It is preparing your heart/spirit to hear what God is saying. Get past the technology, the rehearsals, the planning, and yes, get past the salaries, and prepare for worship.
Choose songs that God wants. Forget what man wants—forget what the choir members like. Forget your image. It's not about the music – and it's not about you! It's all about Jesus! (Psalm 115:1) Forget your skill, forget about your experience, prestige and recognition. Worship is not for us – it's for God. Use your instrument to get somebody delivered! Ask God to anoint your heart and your hands, in that order, to prophesy on your instrument. The goal in worship is to experience God's glory.
Sometimes we get so caught up in what we've planned for the service, that we miss worship. That is not our intention, but because of the job we do we have to stay alert as to the order of service; and in so doing, we may not get our praise on, or worship the way we'd like. Some of us even get caught up in ourselves, and as a result miss worship. As musicians, and as worshipers, we must come to the point of total insufficiency; desperation, if you will, such that we rely on no one but God. (John 15:5(b)). We must lay our talents and our lives at the foot of Jesus and allow Him to teach us, so that we can teach others in the way He chooses.
It takes time, effort, spiritual discipline, and a lifestyle of walking close to the Holy Spirit to train our choirs and praise teams to give God glory; not only on a professional level, but on a personal one as well. We must be about pleasing God and not the people. To teach others we must be teachable ourselves. Jesus said in His Word, ". . .greater works than these shall ye do. . ."(John 14:12). The Lord always wants us moving upward-not staying in the same place forever. He has called us to do greater things for His glory, and as we yield ourselves to Him, He will take us to new levels we never imagined.