I recently read Wayne Wold’s book, Preaching to the Choir: The Care and Nurture of the Church Choir, which details many good practices for church choirs. Many churches have somebody who directs and/or accompanies the choir. Based on the different sizes and needs of churches, sometimes this person is a professional staff member (or there may even be multiple professional musicians on staff), while other times this duty falls to a volunteer. Wold's book will not only help these music ministers, but it can help pastors, too.
Pastors can become advocates, teachers, and conversation partners who accompany these paid staff members or volunteers who work with your church choir. Preaching to the Choir will allow pastors to understand further the need for pastoral care by those who lead choirs. This will also allow the pastor to provide better pastoral care to music volunteers, staff members, or choir members by increasing the pastor’s knowledge of good pastoral care practices for choirs. Reading intently with an open mind and heart will encourage you to see all of ministry as pastoral care, especially your music ministry.
There are several things that pastors can learn from this book that will translate well to other parts of ministry. One of those things that I have found extraordinarily helpful is his eleven things not to say at choir rehearsal. What we say and how we say things in ministry matter. Wold’s words offer wisdom that can help pastors be conscious of what words they speak in all parts of ministry. Lastly, in this section, Wold gives some phrases that need to be in our lexicon—finding something positive to complement, “thank you,” “almost,” “not quite,” etc.
Another area of Wold’s focus that will be helpful for pastors is encouraging parishioners to grow spiritually and faithfully. It is critical that pastors consider teaching to be significant to ministry. How can all parts of your ministry remember our baptismal call toward teaching, learning, and growing? Wold has great ideas for helping grow, develop, and nurture many parishioners’ faith and spirituality.
One way to encourage spiritual growth is through recruitment that intentionally invites people into these good things that God enriches us with through the church. Good recruitment starts with good motivation, and Wold addresses some good intentions and motives. Wold offers useful suggestions and insight on recruiting that will translate well in all parts of ministry, especially since much of ministry is recruiting volunteers and participants.
This blog post can only touch on a few things, but reading Wold’s book will undoubtedly give you many more helpful ideas for your ministry as a pastor. I am better prepared for ministry after reading Preaching to the Choir.