Working with People

I’ve learned a lot over these past 10 months working as a music/young adults guy at the Efree church in Lethbridge. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out exactly what I’m learning or where I’m learning it because I’m doing so many different things at work, not to mention learning in the first year of marraige in a new place for both Rachel and I! As I relect, there is one thing which is sticking out to me right now.

Knowing how to work with people is the hardest and most important thing that I do in my job.

The hard skills are important, yes. I got hired because I have the hard skills – I know how to play music, I went to Briercrest so I’ve got a great theological backing as well as the general post secondary stuff, I’ve shows apptitude in technical stuff, etc. Those things are all important, but when I think about my day to day job, they definately aren’t the things that take most of my time and energy.

Just because one can play a guitar and sing and even present well in front of 500 people doesn’t mean that they’re a good worship leader. Getting to know the people in a congregation and understand their culture – the things that their leaders expect, the history that affects the culture, how doing certain things with certain people can be interpreted by other people – that’s the hard stuff. I’ve had to learn how to say no to people – good people wanting to be involved, but I believe the best thing for them and the church is for them to serve elsewhere because there’s someone else who I feel is better suited to serve in that position.

Worship leaders/pastors seem to get that a lot. I don’t think children and youth leaders turn away nearly as many people as worship leaders do. I’ve had to learn the value of greeting people by name as they arrive at an event- even if I’m in the middle of doing one of those hard-skilled tasks that just needs to be done. The tasks and skills are meaningless without being able to work with people.

Even those tasks that I have to do that seem to not interact as much with people – they’re so dependant on other people in the organization and congregation. Shooting and editing a video may seem easy enough, but knowing how that video fits best with the service and other elements that other people have prepaired is more important that having a great solo piece that is disconnected from everything else.

The longer I work in (and even attend) a church, the more respect I have for people who lead worship for the same congregation week after week. I still have respect for the musicallity of the big named guys who are cutting worship CD’s and touring the globe, but I’ve seen firsthand now how much more understanding of people is needed to be leading a group of the same people weekly.

For anyone who thinks that worship ministry is just making music, playing in a band – heck, even moving risers and doing tech stuff (which it is much more than any of us who do it would like to be doing), it’s more working with people than anything else. My guess is that it’s the same in almost any career, whether in the church or not.

I’d love to figure out a way to help people grow in their understanding and skills of working with people, but my feeling is that I’m going to need more experience before I’m much use to others… and that ultimately, this is the kind of stuff that can only be learned through experience.