Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Ego Stroking



Musicians. *rolls eyes* *shakes head*

Oy.

As a worship director, I have the sometimes daunting task of dealing with... well, "different" personalities. As my mother repeated to me over and over as a child "Music people are funny." Not funny ha-ha. Funny weird.

I know I should be insulted, but she's right. We're weird.

I work with about 22 different musicians on a regular basis, with around five-six substitutes that pinch-hit when needed. I have two regulars on keys, and one of them? Seem to live to make my life harder.

Last fall she was approached by two neighboring churches desperate for an organist. She doesn't get much organ time at our church anymore, so she ask me if she could schedule herself twice a month to play at the other churches. I had some reservations, but after talking to the Senior Pastor, we agreed to change our usual schedule around so she could do this. I had to do some switching of team members (if I tried to explain why, if would get entirely too complicated). After spending a lot of time rearranging things I just couldn't make things work right, so I got rid of one team (at the time we had five) and put the members on other teams. This left us at four teams.

Then I had two young women approach me about being part of the worship ministry, so I needed to sit down and do some rearranging again. With four already very full teams., I tried combination after combination based on vocal ability, tone matching, as well as considering complimenting personalities. What worked the best was to make the teams smaller and create six total teams. Four of these team have vocalists who prefer leading contemporary-style worship. The other two team have vocalists that only want to lead a blended style. The keyboardist that plays organ at the other congregations plays on our two blended worship style teams.

In doing the schedule for the new year, I kept her schedule the same. She still plays two Sundays a month at our church, then plays elsewhere the other weeks. She got the new schedule, saw there were now six teams and she was only on two, she spoke to the other keyboardist and complained. Without glancing at the schedule to see that she was still playing twice a month, she assumed she would be getting "less playing time" than the other regular keyboardist. But all that happened was more vocalists, not instrumentalists, were leading fewer times (instead of once a month, it's now every six weeks.) Is your head spinning yet? Yes, this is what my job at church is like.

I refuse to stroke her ego. I don't have to do this for any other team member; they are happy to serve and love glorifying God with music. Not once have I had to tell anyone to leave their ego at the door. Sometimes personalities clash, but it's rare. We work through it and move on. It's viewed as a service, not an ego trip.

When you begin to view your service to the church about getting "equal playing time" maybe it's time you sit on the bench.

Oy.

3 comments:

Genevieve said...

I read this with some envy because our little church is abnormally un-musical.

stephanie said...

We are very fortunate, so that I will never complain about.

the very left reverend said...

i know this pain. oh wow, do i know this pain.

when people used to ask what my job at teh church was i'd always say "mangaging egos."

they always laughed. they didn't get it.