Saturday, March 20, 2010

people just wont quit

Musicians in church (often referred to as "praise teams") are usually very committed people, and there isn't a lot of turnover when it comes to people leaving their service of the church. My grandmother has played the organ for church for over 40 years. A lot of the people at my church have been playing there since I've attended (several years now). I'd like to address exactly why there is so little turnover, and why music pastors can be so incompetent and yet retain so much dedication.

The first thing that we should remember is that churches are dealing with volunteers. If musicians are paid for their services, then not all of this applies. But for the sake of my argument(s), I will assume that a music pastor is a paid employee of the church, and that the musicians that he/she is directing are unpaid volunteers.

Rallying volunteers is a difficult job, although I think it becomes easier when dealing with church. People in church associate their emotions toward their church with their emotions towards their God (or whatever deity). This means that pastors (regular & music) can get away with a little more, because people won't abandon church projects very easily in fear that God will view them as abandoning him. They won't express their displeasure because they don't want to create gossip within the church (oddly, a lot of gossip takes place at church), and because they feel that displeasure towards anything to do with church can be interpreted as displeasure towards God, and they don't want to run that risk.

Also, most musicians count their service as part of their tithe. We are told to donate the 3 T's: treasure, talent, and time (I'm told the Catholic Church has actual rules on how much of each you can use as your tithe). Therefore, we get away with donating less money to the church because we donate our time. Personally, I give about 6-8 hours a week of my time to playing music when you add in rehearsal time, personal practice time, and the performance(s) itself. I bill my time at $50/hour (this is approximately what it costs my current employer to employ me, and what I charge people when I do odd jobs outside of work). But I digress. Musicians often keep dedicated to their church service because they know that they are paying part of their tithe through time and talent. If the IRS allowed you to claim this donation of time as a tax deduction (as they do actual money donations), I bet every church in the nation would have a 90-piece band.

That donation of time and talent is part of the reason that musicians stay with the church. Add that with the great guilt that people associate their service with their God, and it's hard to get them to leave. The last thing on the list would be that, for the most part, church musicians are good people. They know that they are needed to serve a greater good, and gladly donate their time. When their music pastors show up to practice still not knowing what music will be played on Sunday, or not having copies of the music, or when they don't know the order of the music or what cuts to make, the musicians look the other way. They are very patient, which is a Biblical quality. But I have to say that we are all a little more patient when dealing with people whom we view as [borderline] retarded.

No comments:

Post a Comment