Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I am happy to write that yesterday went pretty well with my work. My associate, Michelle Higgins is very talented as a singer, choral director, rehearsal director, and has a good work ethic with daily tasks. I prepare a memo each week for her to follow, and she chases every chore to its furthest conclusion.
Sometimes, though, we get sidetracked in our planning meetings, and end up singing or hamming it up, which I expect to happen in a music department. After all we are wired to entertain and perform just about every 20 minutes! But it is in this context that there is sometimes some inappropriate conversation about people in our department and opinions we have or things that have been said. I think I need to tighten up this part of our ministry, and be extra vigilant to protect the personal reputation of every one who works with us.
Then we had staff meeting under Randy's direction. He is a masterful and humble interpreter of the scripture, and sometimes he walks in, sits down in his place at the table, and briefly scans a scripture passage. After an opening prayer, he thens proceeds to conduct a deductive Bible study in a discussion format with the staff.
After 5 years of teaching at Chattanooga Christian School, I learned how to prep for a discussion from the guidelines for teaching, and sometimes our pastors would benefit from this approach. They can put the staff in an intellectual head lock, like, 'no, that's not what I'm looking for' and it becomes juvenile sometimes.
But yesterday, Randy chose Psalm 127-- 'unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.' During his discussion, I could hear Randy using the poetic language of my song, "Consider the Lilies" and sure enough, he asked that we sing it at the end of the meeting.
Singing a song is not unusual at the end of staff devotions, but "Consider the Lilies" is rarely sung at out church anymore, and the staff does not know it. So it becomes a performance of the song by Randy and me!
During the study he asked the staff to talk about ways that we felt inadequate to do the work of building God's house. Numerous struggles were mentioned and written on the board. I was touched by the common feelings of the staff, and how articulately they expressed a need for God's presence and oversight to accomplish anything at all. Of course, in my own discouragement, I heard God speaking to me through my colleagues. I am very thankful for these weekly studies.
But what follows the studies is a discussion of staff events and planning. This is one of the low points of the week, because Randy proceeds to conduct a meeting with a blend of fact, issues, and his own vision for the church. He is an incurable visionary who seems to get up in the morning thinking about something new that you could be doing in your program. Of course with 10-15 staff members, you only get hit once every 2 weeks specifically, but every week in these sessions. A couple of years ago, I began to realize that I should not say much, if anything in these meetings. It always seemed like Randy would cut me off or rebuke me for some typical excess in my delivery (see the entertainment every 20 minutes above). Now, I only speak after raising my hand, and I usually bring a list of specific points. The random chattering during this part of the meeting is tedious, and he doesn't seem to cut the others off. I think our years together has created a relationship that is more sharply defined.
Although I pray every week for the attitude of submission to the ones in authority over me, I am frequently frustrated that I never take time to think about my own goals and vision for my work, so the vision of our music department is defined by the pastor. This is one of the greatest struggles of my job.
But in the evening, we had our Tuesday choir rehearsal and we had a good number turn out. There was laughter, 3 pieces rehearsed, and generally what is supposed to happen at a rehearsal. It always leaves me thinking, "all right, this is what I am here for!" I only had to apologize for my excessive antics only once, to a new choir member who is not used to my loud arm waving.
Music performance takes so much emotional and physical energy, that we usually feel that we have done significant work just to do our regular job. There is interaction with people, thinking about musical and mathematical detail, and vigorous singing, clapping, swaying, and talking. I wish my boss could come and experience just 1 month of our department's work before he thinks up another project for us.

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About Me

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I am a person who is perceived as youthful, although I am in my late 50s. I play and sing music, and it tends to keep me in the culture, like a lot of young people do. I am a "high I" on the DISC Behavioral Test, which means I'm optimistic, enthusiastic, a team player, and I motivate others toward goals. I don't like exercise, but I have a high metabolism, so I don't tend to be overweight at this time in my life! I have recently been doing moderate exercise and physical therapy for a shoulder condition.