Tag Archives: musicianary

Frustration = more determined

I got the call from the church in Florida two nights ago and have been processing until now. What my liaison on the committee told me left me in shock. He said that when he walked into the search committee meeting the night before he was expecting maybe a ten minute meeting because everybody at the church had given such positive feedback about me. However, in his words, the meeting “turned into four hours of knock down, drag out” and in the end, some of the elderly committee members felt the church should take the “safe route” and hire the local applicant because they didn’t like that my self-employed electrician husband wasn’t going to ditch all of his long-establishd clientele and just move down to Florida with me lock, stock and barrell. Like they’re hiring my husband???? I thought I had made it very clear to them that by the time he finishes up all of the work he’s got scheduled for this year alone and looks into getting his electrician license for Florida and then networks to line up work there, he wouldn’t be able to follow me down for about a year. If he and I don’t have a problem with that, why in the world should anybody else??? In this day and age, one goes where the career moves you.

I’ve felt sick to my stomach for two days about it. Why did God allow some old-fashioned “a husband and wife are joined at the hip, she can’t possibly be functional or committed to the ministry at our church without him right here at her side” mentality block my stepping into a full time music ministry position that felt so right?? I was absolutely sure that it was the door God was opening for me. I was believing for it and speaking out of my mouth all sorts of affirmations about it. Now I just don’t know what to think.

Was my faith not strong enough? Was is not the right church after all? If it was, why did God allow the “traditionalists” to overrule the younger set who are the ones actually growing the church? Is that all the 11th hour stumbling block was, or was it something else that my liaison didn’t tell me so as not to hurt my feelings? Was there a flaw in my character somewhere that I should know about so I can work on fixing it in myself? Did God let that position slip away because He’s got a more appropriate place lined up for me? And if so, where is it so I can send a letter and apply for it NOW!!!?!??!?! Why is He keeping me sitting here day after day being bored out of my mind in an area of the USA where Hughesnet actually has no service reps so we have to put up with dial-up internet?? I can’t download music to keep up to date on the newest Christian artists and their releases, I can’t listen to podcasts from my favourite mover-shaker churches, it takes ages for inspiring blogs to load on my computer, and I can’t even watch the YouTube videos I post online much less any other audio or video streams. Yeah, I know: whine, whine, whine. Urrgh.

I am so frustrated I go between crying at one moment to feeling nothing at all, empty and forelorn. I know in my head that God cares about me and has a good plan for my life, I know that He has annointed me for full-time ministry, but right now, believing it in my heart after this really big slam is feeling very difficult. I am trying to be positive and not let myself get depressed about this huge disappointment by working on new recordings (all contemporary right now) and new videos.

If I can’t find a full-time position in a church with both traditional and contemporary services, I’m going to focus on at least seeking a part-time post with a church emphasizing contemporary style worship. I may enjoy both styles for different reasons and at different times, but it’s time to draw the line. I can always attend a trad service if I want to. Most important to me is that I need to be an active part of the leadership in a contemporary, reach out to the everyday man on the street, upbeat community. It’s part of what being a musicianary means to me, and I’m more determined now than ever.

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Needed to hear it

Yesterday after church, someone said something to me that I really needed to hear and that I kind of forgot about until just now. I’ve been going through this weird kind of doldrums for the past few days, going on nearly a week and am having a tough time shaking it. At St. Andrew’s the vicar makes a circuit of several small parishes in the month and is with this congregation once, maybe twice in a month. It was nice that he was there for Mother’s Day and that it was a Eucharist service because he was there.

Me being me, I can’t just sit in on a worship service that doesn’t have music and not offer to play, which is how I came to be playing for St. Andrew’s while waiting for a full-time assignment in the first place. Been there since Maundy Thursday, about a month.

Following worship service, we’re all standing around chatting and the vicar said to me how much he appreciated my being there even if I weren’t playing the organ for them. He said that something about my personality and presence in the room “lights up the place” and that my inner energy was contagious.

I know that God has annointed me with a full-time vocation in music ministry and I really needed to hear that and to hang onto it.  Next week, I head down to Florida for my eagerly anticipated interview/audition and I need to be as “up” as I can possibly be. I’ve had a hard day today not feeling well physically and had a hard time getting motivated to do anything until I just now thought of what the vicar had said to me.

I needed that reminder. Thanks, Lord!

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St. Andrew’s

While waiting on God to open the door for me for a full-time ministry position, I’ve been volunteering as organist over at a small Episcopal Church nearby and was in to practice on the two-manual Allen organ today. I love the interior of the sanctuary – the gothic arches with their carved gargoyles and the beautiful chancel. It’s very conduscive for praying. The sun comes up behind the altar in the early morning which makes the room glow; unfortunately, I didn’t think to take out my camera until early afternoon.

Entering St. Andrew's Sanctuary

Entering St. Andrew's Sanctuary

I’m hoping to record me playing the organ there sometime soon, but when I tried today, the electronic organ didn’t generate quite enough oompf to really pick up clearly on the camcorder. I’ll have to fiddle around with where to place the camera to pick the sound up better.

View of organ and Sanctuary from choir

View of organ and Sanctuary from choir

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Holy Week musings

I passed up an offer yesterday (on Passover, ironically) to work for a small church about fifty miles away. I had had a fabulous interview, although I wasn’t psyched up about going to it until I was almost there pulling into the parking lot and I begged God to put the words in my mouth He would have me say because nothing was coming to mind. Once inside and talking with the interview committee, God came through as usual and I was full of life again as my usual effusive self came out when discussing my philosophy of music as ministry. But in the time since that interview, I wasn’t enthused. Then I felt really uneasy after receiving the official offer call yesterday morning and didn’t know quite what “the problem” was going on inside of me. I couldn’t even think to myself, “yay, a paycheque” – I just could not get excited and hoped that my lack of enthusiasm wasn’t apparent on the phone that morning! I just knew I shouldn’t accept the position because I’m that sure God is about to open a full-time door for me, and knowing I would not be able to continue at that position for long, I don’t want anyone disappointed at my hand.

While contemplating whether or not I should call the pastor back, in the meantime an amazing thing happened to me. Because God does stuff like that:

I had already decided to attend Maundy Thursday service at noon yesterday at a small Episcopal Church nearby and with all the whining going on in my head, I was afraid I was going to be late getting there. I pulled onto the parking lawn and those who were arriving immediately came over and welcomed me with huge smiles and warm handshakes. When we went inside, the vicar asked if they should pick hymns that everyone knows since there wasn’t an organist, and I offered to play. Talk about suddenly feeling “special” – apparently they’ve been without an organist for some time and had been hoping for one, then *poof!* in I walk. So I played for the liturgy, and also again today at the Good Friday service. But I jump ahead.

I found myself emotional during worship. When it came time for Eucharist, we all went forward to kneel at the altar and receive communion, and I felt interior turmoil about several things that have been on my heart lately and about seemingly nothing at all. Maybe it was the full moon, I dunno. I felt at home in the “high church” setting even though this charming country chapel was very informal. Yet it had that feel of being in the abbey that I miss terribly. I came out of church feeling great, hymnal under my arm to practice the hymns for the next day’s service, and headed to town hall for the errands I needed to run.

By the time I got home, however, I was agitated more than I was in the morning. I called the pastor back and told him I wasn’t comfortable accepting the position and why. After hanging up, I felt better which tells me it was the right thing to do. One of the things I have been praying for during this fast is for discernment, and when my gut was churning so much over a small, part-time job, it must be important to listen to because I know God must be trying to tell me something.

In the meanwhile, the verse that keeps running through my head is from the parable of the talents where the master commends the faithful servants for being fruitful with the small amounts given to them so that he then entrusted greater things to them.

It seems to me that the reason that Scripture was on my heart so strongly yesterday was because I don’t need to “just take any job” simply because I need a paycheque; I need to keep believing that God is about to open a full time door for a music ministry position that He has prepared especially for me to fill. I took a position last summer merely because it was offered and I thought I needed a paycheque more than I needed a good match for my gifting – and it was a fiasco from the start. I’m still healing from the way I was treated there.

Playing organ for the tiny Episcopal Church and very appreciative group of ladies this week has assured me that volunteering here for awhile is where God would have me wait for His hand to move. I know He will provide for me and my needs and that He knows best what I need and when.

Tomorrow is the final day of my fast and then comes the breaking of the fast with a lamb dinner on Easter Sunday. Even my mother is going with me to the Episcopal Church for Resurrection service. I can’t wait to see what next week brings because God is not only faithful to provide, He’s amazing.

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Musicianary

I’ve been absorbed in a lot of reading lately, and when not reading, working on the annual accounting for my hubby’s business – thus why I haven’t journaled in a week. The more I’ve been meditating and absorbing lately, the more convinced and excited I am about my calling and where it appears God is leading me. I have spoken with several pastors recently about how important it is for me to accept a music ministry position that is in fact missional ministry. Great Commission ministry. As a “musicianary.”

The Urban Dictionary defines “musicianary” as:

A missionary whose primary tool is one of music, using songs to spread the Gospel.

Andres T. Tapia, in his article “Musicianaries,” published in Christianity Today  (October 7, 1996), wrote:

As a “musicianary” he knows it is imperative to use the gift of music to serve others and the gift is only developed through serving.

I strongly believe that God does not want me to serve in a church where the music in the worship gathering stops at edifying the gathered Christians, but to serve in a church where the music helps to draw in others who are seeking God but who perhaps do not know that He is the One they are seeking. In other words, a clearly missional position, rather than just an in-house music job. I don’t know if that is going to come across the way I’m reflecting on it, but hey, what’s a journal for but to sound out my random thoughts so I can clarify them.

The music in the worship gathering should always, always, always point the congregation toward God and should always coordinate with the pastor’s teaching and Scripture readings. The music director works hand-in-hand with the pastor and under their authority to achieve the vision God has put in the pastor’s heart. That’s a given as far as I’m concerned.

At the communal worship gathering, I feel it is imperative that there is only and ever an audience of ONE and it is for His pleasure that we gather. It is to God alone that we pray, that we lift our hearts and voices and songs. A church where the people invite friends and neighbors to come and worship with them because the love of God has so transformed their vision of the purpose of their lives that their enthusiasm is contagious and people naturally want to come and “check out” this God who can so excite people. And where there seems to be a lull in new spiritual births, there needs to be a new outreach effort. People more often don’t walk in the doors unannounced; they want to be invited to the party.

That’s where I, as a musicianary, want to be. I want to do my part in helping reach out into the culture with the healing message we as Christians have to share with a hurting, lied-to world. If that means adding music to other outreach events, or playing a coffeehouse style social event, or setting up regular concert events with local Christian musicians – I want to using my organizational and administrative gifts and skills as well as my musical skills all together for the purpose of serving God by using what He’s given me to touch others who matter to Him.

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Meandering thoughts

I feel so much better today, full of creative energy and spring fever. The churning I felt yesterday has given way to my usual bounciness and I’ve gotten a ton of stuff done that I needed to accomplish today, and it’s not even three o’clock yet.

I was awake half of the night thinking about how could I exclusively worship musicially in only one style?? and not burn out or go crazy?? I know I’ve burned out on trying to help an elderly congregation “convert” its style to something more modern, because that takes the strength of Samson, but do I really want to go exclusively contemporary and forfeit the liturgical style I was weaned on??

The answer came as a resounding: no, I want both. I know that my best fit is going to be with a church that holds the traditional liturgical style dear and does it well and ALSO has an established contemporary style gathering. How did I get to that conclusion? Clueless. Lots of meandering, I’m sure.

This stream of consciouness may seem really haphazard, but I realized that if I were leading a contemporary praise band – kickin’ though it may be – and didn’t have the psaltry, too, I wouldn’t feel musically balanced. I like both for different reasons, I need both for different reasons. I have been burned out on “traditional” that wasn’t really traditional as I know it, but rather a local cultural tradition that I didn’t relate to. Somebody’s tradition, any way. Mid-20th-century-time-capsulesque.

So I guess the segue in there somehow must have been that I know I’m gifted to encourage and take a music group “to the next level” regardless of the worship style, and I also know that both formal liturgy and contemporary worship style feed me personally, so if the Lord leads me somewhere that both styles are established already, that would be the right place for me. At least I think that may have been how I got to that conclusion.

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They Like Jesus …

I’ve had quite a bit of time on my hands of late. Good and bad, one of the good things being that I’m catching up on a lot of reading I have been wanting to do.

I just finished reading Dan Kimball’s They Like Jesus But Not the Church this morning, and the thoughts churning in my head have also been making my stomach churn because what I was reading is all true. And I hate that it’s true, but I have close relatives who stay more than arms’ length away from church and “organized religion” because of various bad experiences they have had with the church – not with Jesus mind you, but with people who are supposed to represent Him in this world. How awkward might you suppose this gets for me whose full-time vocation is serving as ministry staff? Ya know, in the church.

So today, with all that’s running around in my head about my calling, my faith, my life situation, my own experiences, I must needs process it all for awhile.

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