Posted 1 years 350 days ago ago by Bob Burroughs 2 Comments
Would You...if you could?
“Whatever you want in life, start today. Not tomorrow - but today! Let it be a small beginning - even a tiny beginning. Your happiness depends on starting today - every day.” Jonathan Lockwood Huie
“Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you?” 2 Corinthians 3:1
Father of all things, God of the second chance, Redeemer Kinsman, I pray today for those in ministry who are facing indecision or may be questioning their High calling. All of us go through this at some point in our ministries, and Satan hammers us well that we are not worth, that we can't keep u, we are not qualified or we missed it somewhere along the way. Wrong! The God who called us into ministry will never leave us or forsake us in either good times and bad. You allow all of us to begin anew. I pray that today for Your people, who serve You faithfully. In the strong name of the One who never questioned His calling, Jesus. Amen, and Amen.
What Think Ye?
Truthfully now, if you could do it all over again, meaning, if you could go back in time...to where the most major decisions for your life were made. Would you make the same choices/decisions again? My own choices of college, seminary, spouse, vocation, calling, church/teaching, children, hobbies, and so much more come flashing by as I write this.
Today, we are experiencing so very tough times in ministry. This is a most difficult time. Some reasons for some difficulties may be personal, such as:
- The inability to do the job. Perhaps the position has become too demanding or perhaps, it has grown bigger than it should be and the position has outgrown the skills of the leader. Maybe keeping up with the ever-changing technology is a problem.
- Infidelity in the marriage.This is happening in alarming numbers. You can read almost everyday of someone who has been unfaithful and has been exposed and humiliated--as well as the family! A very reliable source told me recently that an average of 15% of church staff leadership is addicted to pornography--on the Internet! Some have lost their jobs because pornographic materials have been found on their church laptop computer--in their offices!
- Marriages seem to be gradually falling apart and children are having little sense of stability, routine, and security--because one or both of the couples work and seem to be more interested and dedicated to their work, church, or job - (in that order) than in their marriage and children…and CHILDREN BECOME THE VICTIMS of such adult behavior! Isn't it odd that according to a variety of surveys, most church-related vocation ministers rarely have a time of family prayers and devotional time together?
- A new pastor comes on the field declaring he will work with the current staff, and then as things do not work to his liking, he begins gradually to "clean house" and bring on new staff, many times without the knowledge of the congregation. Only heaven will reveal the damage done in these situations and God will not honor such lack of feeling, understanding, and hurt that comes with this kind of pastoral leadership.
- Lack of continuing education.Churches seem to be content to allow their leaders to do the same thing year after year after year thinking no one is noticing or perhaps they don't realize that there is very little that is fresh, innovative or exciting happening in the ministry. Little--if any creativity in the programming and in worship seems to be rampant. Many sit in their church ivory towers, thinking they have all the answers and that nothing of value happens outside "my" church, while the world marches by oblivious of "your" church.
So, once again, if you could go back to the days that these major life decisions were made, would you do the same things, make the same choices, follow the same path? Would you, perhaps, be happier today doing something else that might have been more fulfilling?
OK! Confession time!
I would have to say that I would make the same choices once again--all the while knowing there would be pain in some and extreme joy and happiness in others. I do wish I could have done some things better, such as being a more hands on parent in the early years, worked smarter, been more professional, and had a greater sense of caring for God's people. I wish I had learned not be so aggressive and uptight about things that I could not control, but I am trying to ease up a bit and relax more, and am enjoying this change!
Yes, I would certainly marry Esther Milligan again, for she has been the pivot point, main stay, inspiration, and love of my life. She is one of the most generous people I have ever known and she is a true world citizen and lover of God and His Kingdom. She is a student of the Bible and speaks her heart and soul to women's ministry groups. She is responsible for much of who I am and I am eternally grateful for her love, and for her ministry. She is one fine "Nana," let me tell you. No! Let the grandchildren tell you!
As I look back in those early years, I was almost too busy to be a good father. I was trying to prove myself and really, no one cared but me. Now, I'm trying now to be one heck of a grandfather. I will do anything within my power for my one grandson, and four granddaughters. I have promised them I will never be so busy that they can't come to me, play with me, go to a movie or just sit and visit. My son and daughter have become my greatest "adult" friends and their choice in spouses could not have pleased me more.
I have loved each of the church positions where God allowed me to serve. The North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, and Georgia churches taught me much about life, maturity and ministry. They allowed me to grow in musicianship, spiritual depth, passion for the Gospel and allowed me freedom to be creative and to stretch them as well. And taught me some hard lessons.
I loved my teaching days at Samford University in the 70s and Palm Beach Atlantic University in the early 90s, thanks to my friend and mentor, the late CLAUDE H. RHEA. He allowed me to come to Samford without a Doctorate and opened to me the educational doors. I got to become close friends with DR. RAY ROBINSON. I am grateful for all the students to whom God allowed Esther and me to minister. Many are now leaders in their own churches or teaching in colleges. They have made us very proud.
I loved with a passion the eight years as Director of the Church Music Department, Florida Baptist Convention. I tried to do what my boss asked me to do while serving there. I'm grateful to the Florida Baptist Singing Men and Singing Women for their love, support, followship and musicianship. They taught me valuable lessons.
Now, I'm nine years into retirement, and enjoying to do what I like to do best: gardening, composing/arranging, driving Esther as she speaks across the Southeast, and being a good father and grandfather.
So--would YOU do the same thing over again? Think about it carefully before you answer. If you can't truthfully say "yes," it is not to late to make some drastic changes!
What think ye
The Ten Commandments of Effective Leadership
Joe Batten, in his wonderful book, TOUGH-MINDED LEADERSHIP, offers 10 commandments for effective leadership. (Permission granted)
- Tell your people up front what is expected of them and then, expect much from them. They will rise to meet your challenge.
- Truth is the only thing that sets you and your people free. Never lie or even stretch the truth to your people.
- Diligently expect to be what you expect others to be. Two-faced leadership simply will not work in this day and age.
- Unleash and unshackle the enthusiasm of your people. Encourage them and be proud of them in public as well as in private.
- Search for some positive strengths in every person with whom you work. Always expect the best from each one, and most of the time, you will get it.
- Share life, love, concerns and laughter with your people. Get OUT of the office and into the hallways and offices.That is where you learn the hearts of your people. Show you care about and for them. The leaders who stays in the office ivory towers all the time has no real heart or concern for people!
- Know that expectation and appreciation are the keys to all good things happening. Always reward good work.
- Know that the best leadership control is a clearly and mutually understood expectation from both leader and people. Remember: they can't read your mind! Keep them informed
- Sculpt a vision and plan boldly with your leadership people. Don't try to do everything by yourself. Let your vision inspire others to lead out and the dream can only get larger
- Once you have the plan, then live it. Lead your people! See yourself as an instrument of human progress.
This Idea Will Work
Less. Work More.
In today's fast-paced world, with so much going on and everyone so very busy, choir, ensemble, handbells and orchestra members do not come to rehearsal each week and give up the comforts of home to hear the director pontificate in rehearsals!
Believe it or not, they come to rehearsals to become better musicians, to work hard at learning new music, chasing wrong notes, fixing bad chords, having fellowship with friends, learning names of new people, and, to make fun of the Tenors!
Try this experiment: get someone with a stopwatch (your spouse might do this for you) and ask this person to keep the time on the amount of talking you do in a rehearsal without your knowledge this is happening. Ask the person to total up the minutes (or hours) and give it to you after rehearsal, and you'd best sit down! You will be astonished at how much of the member's time will spent listening to the Director talk--and how little time is spent working on music.
So, here is your new slogan: Talk Less. Work More. Your choir will be happier. They will get better--and your spouse can put away the stop watch.
I'm The Boss !! John Maxwell
, author of the book, 360 Leader
, tells this story:
"I love the story of Karl who enjoyed a good laugh at his office after he attached a small sign to his door which read: "I'm the Boss."
The laughter became even louder when he returned from lunch and saw that someone had made an addition to his sign. Next to it was a yellow Post-It note on which someone had scribbled: "Your wife called and said she wants her sign back."
To read more of this week's MME, including new music reviews, please look to the right.
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Starting Over Anthem Reviews
New Product Reviews
Fred Bock Music Company has a new and very excellent project that will interest directors of Children's Choirs--and may also interest small youth and/or adult choirs! This new series is called Hymns4Kidz and it is perhaps one of the best projects to cross this desk in some time! The talent behind this project is Heather Sorenson, who is the Music Associate at Lavon Drive Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas. She is a widely published composer/arranger, and travels as a clinician for children's choir leaders.
This is a one-of-a-kind children's choir series, designed for 1-6 grades in church and schools. It is very unique in design and materials. What is it that makes Hymnz4kidz so unique? This new series will provide:
- Contemporary new arrangements of traditional hymns--designed specifically for today’s kids
- Full orchestration for each hymn
- Downloadable Director’s Tool Kit for each hymn, including a teacher guide, a short drama, student activity, and worship service integration guide
- Need help with your Children’s Choirs? Sign up for Heather’s Monthly Tool Box newsletter and video
This series is sure to be a winner! Congratulations to Fred Bock Music Company for producing this outstanding product! Here are reviews of three of the pieces in this series that are available for purchase:
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day; 2-Part Choir, keyboard and Handbells; Words by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; Music by Jean Baptiste Calkin; Arranged by Heather Sorenson; $1.75; #BG2561; You can also find related products, including orchestration and handbell parts on the website
From the opening eight measures, you will be captured! You will hear the Westminster Chimes in the score. And when the children enter, you and the congregation will be transported to a place of pure delight. Worship of the new-born Christ Child will come forth as Longfellow's words and Calkin's music is given a new birth by Sorenson! This piece is a work of art! Get it - don't delay.
Brethren, We Have Met to Worship, 2-Part Choir, keyboard; Words by George Adkins; Music by William More; Arranged by Heather Sorenson; $1.75; #BG2559; You can also find related products, including orchestration on the website.
If your choir doesn't receive a standing ovation after singing this fabulous arrangement of this well-known tune, then your people may be out-to-lunch! This chart sings itself. It reminded me of an old-fashioned "hoedown," and handicapping along the way would certainly be in order. This one is just plain fun, taking a grand old text/tune and bringing it up-to-date in such a fine manner. Any choir will enjoy this piece. Well done!
Come, Christians, Join to Sing; Two-Part, Keyboard; Words/Music by Christian Bateman; Arranged by Heather Sorenson; BG2560; $1.75; You can also find related products on the website
The accompaniment and orchestration for this grand hymn is really well done. There are lots of rhythm diversions to overcome and a number of markings that will make the piece come to life--afresh! Pay close attention, Accompanists!
When the children enter, it is pure joy. There are different rhythms that will not challenge the children as much as the directors!! The two-part work is easy. The second stanza has two solos that can be two of the children, a couple of adults, your pastor (ha) or the whole group. There is a nice bridge that just might get the congregation involved, if encouraged to do so. After the third stanza, there is a Choir recitation from the Psalms which just fits so perfectly, with a nice, bright ff ending. This one is a winner.
Worship Expo September 29-October 1, 2011; Idlewild Baptist Church, Tampa, FL
Think September! The new choir and instrumental year has begun. Things are about in place. All the pieces of the puzzle are making a nice music mosaic for Fall. Now…it is time for YOU to go someplace worth your time for personal and professional renewal. Want to know the best place to do this?
The Florida Baptist Worship Expo in Tampa, Florida! This is a premiere conference and workshop that is very reasonably priced--with a staff of the best of the best--in a location that is first class in every way and--worship experiences that will carry you away to a face-to-face encounter with the Great God who gave us music for our hearts and souls. There will also be exhibit booths where you can mix and mingle, refresh and regenerate.
Go to worshipexpo.org and see the list of professionals who will be there. You will be amazed, as I was, at the quality personnel that will be present. You will find prices, classes, personnel with pics and bios, hotels and much more! Take advantage of the opportunity to be inspired, encouraged, and equipped. Scripture teaches us to be skillful and multiply the gift that is within us.
WORSHIP EXPO is designed for worship leaders and all worship team members to do just this It is for leaders of all age choirs, orchestras, praise teams, praise bands, children’s choir leaders, technicians, senior pastors and any others you think might want this kind of mountain-top experience. This is a conference for you to experience something that will not only be a benefit to your ministry, but has the potential to transform your life. You will return home better prepared and your people will be the beneficiaries of your time in Tampa
Bits 'n Pieces
MME is always happy to have the sponsorship and review materials from Fred Bock Music Company. Stephen Bock, President of FBMC, is so much fun! I enjoy his friendship, humor, and spirit. He is guiding FBMC down some new paths and you would be wise to go to their website and check out what they are offering these days. There are many new things, as well as older things that still sell very well for they have become choral and keyboard classics! Thank you, Stephen, for your continuing support .
We are in the middle of summer. Is it hot where you are? We are in the upper 90s in Greer, South Carolina. About this time, when I was in local church ministry, I was busy, busy ordering music for choirs, ensembles, and handbells to be prepared for Fall and Christmas. I was researching the files to see what would fit best in this coming choral season, checking when it was last sung, and trying to fit the new music in with the old. I was busy working on the performance schedule from September to December, listing everything piece of music to be sung, played, rung--so everyone would know when a piece would be sung or played and so they could keep abreast of what was coming down the pike. I was thinking about changes that could be made to make the presentations more exciting and how to get the choirs and ensembles geared up for a great new season.
Oh, and by the way, I was trying to work in at least two conferences that would challenge and inspire me to be better in my fields of expertise and even tried a few classes out of my comfort rangeOh, and by the way, I was trying to work in at least two conferences that would challenge and inspire me to be better in my fields of expertise and even tried a few classes out of my comfort range. Summer, for me, was not a vacation. Summer was a time of quiet preparation, thoughts and special time with the Father, asking for guidance in choosing the materials for these groups that would minister to them and to the congregation.
I love the Summer!
Would I do it again?
Bob Burroughs is a husband, father, grandfather, composer, arranger, educator, clinician and the Editor of CREATOR magazine. In his spare time, he loves gardening, yard work, reading, and traveling. You can reach Bob at the email address below. Please don't ask for money!
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