There’s More to Leadership than Your Expertise
The item today is Pastoral Care: We are, in fact, in ministry. We show pastoral care for all those in our music ministry. Reaching out to people in need with extra care is a part of ministry. Every staff member is involved in pastoral care as every staff member is involved in Christian education. Leadership and ministry both depend on effective relationships.
Transformational Leadership is a transformational paradigm. The musical director is one of the most visible examples of this:
• Individual singers (instrumentalists) are transformed into a choir (band/orchestra);
• The choir (band/orchestra) is transformed into an ensemble over time; and
• In music ministry these ensembles are on a transformational journey of faith. We are part of transforming and forming this faith journey as ministry professionals.
What does this have to do with Pastoral Care? Well, it’s all about Pastoral Care, isn’t it?
It’s All About Pastoral Care
In one church where I served as Music Director for 20 years, one of our Church Educators told us that we were all involved in Christian Education in our various roles and disciplines. In another church staff, the two pastors with the title of Pastoral Care Minister told the rest of the ministry staff that each of us were involved in pastoral care. In this case, they were referring to visiting those sick, and in hospitals and nursing homes. I typically visited any person in the music ministry when they were hospitalized. That’s Pastoral Care in the formal sense.
But pastoral care shows up in many ways that we don’t consider under the traditional label. Some of these are:
• Listening: A famous quote: “listening is so close to loving that you can’t tell the difference” We have listening skills as musicians, but we need to be intentional about listening from a pastoral care point of view.
• Praying: We meet with members in ministry who are troubled, sick, and compromised in many ways. Praying with them is caring for them. And sometimes we pray out loud.
• Sharing Meals: More often that not, I had lunches with choir members and church leaders with whom I had a relationship. These lunches usually had no agenda. These lunches were about a continuing process of strengthening relationships. Sometimes, just spending time with a member is a type of pastoral care. You show that you care. Sometimes, these lunches were with small groups and not with individuals. It’s the individual meetings that have the most meaning to the member.
• Observing: Leadership sometimes is like water in that we flow with the situation and observe what’s happening. Leaders understand what’s happening by observing. We can observe people and their reactions. Listening and observing provide leaders with perspective to know what’s happening and what to do. Many times, it’s good not to do anything, and observe.
• Sending Written Notes: At one point in my ministry work, I decided to print music ministry stationery and hand write a personal note to someone in the church affirming something I observed their gifts to ministry, their committee work, their attentiveness to some detail, their attendance at committee meetings or choir, and other similar observations. As a result of observing members in ministry, I could then affirm in person and in writing what I observed. [Here's a great way to do this.] Their response to these notes was as if they had won the lottery or something similar.
• Questioning: Asking good questions is a form of caring. Well placed and carefully worded questions show that you care and that you have noticed. Questions going beyond, “How are you doing?” or “How’s the family,” can focus on deeper subjects and give members a chance to open up and share.
Leadership is based on relationships. Ministry is based on relationships. Communication is based on relationships. Pastoral Care is a relationship and not an activity. It happens through activities with intentionality.
The Pastoral Church Musician has pastoral concern for all people.
Be the best you can be as a professional church musician, which is very different from a musician that does church music.
If you want to share other steps for coaching or tips for success, please comment.
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