Elijah, age eight, and Wyatt, age six, are our two oldest grandsons. A few weeks ago my wife Lori (they call her Ellee and me, Papa) picked me up at the Charlotte airport, and the boys were in the car.
Within minutes of getting in the car, Wyatt (who is very shy around most people) said, Papa, would you like to hear a song? I said, Sure, I would! So, Wyatt with a bit of assistance from older (and more confident) brother Elijah proceeds to sing a song, “Don’t give up, don’t give in, Gotta get right back up and try again.” This is from the Netflix Jr. show, Ada Twist, Scientist.
Now while Elijah the elder has not found his voice, Wyatt the younger sang it clearly and on pitch. Of course, a grandparent brags on all equally, right? But later when I was alone with Wyatt I told him what a wonderful voice he has. When I did, a big smile lit up his face.
The point of this sweet story is to think for a minute about the way we spend our time in music and worship ministry. Seems like our work falls roughly into three categories: music and worship, pastoral ministry, and administration. Let’s set aside pastoral ministry, as important as that is.
I sometimes feel like the only thing I do is answer emails and texts and go to meetings. How much time do I spend with people encouraging them to sing or to play? Yes, we do this in rehearsals. But do we nurture and encourage individuals? There was a time I spent a lot more time with individual singers, adults, and students. What happened? How did administrative responsibilities squeeze out the very thing I love to do the most?
I don’t quite know how to get off this gerbil wheel but I want to do more listening and coaching and encouraging. What if my motto was “I help people sing” instead of “I answer emails.”
(Okay, I get it. Prompt communication is important).
Maybe I need to sing along with Wyatt:
“Don’t give up, don’t give in, Gotta get right back up and try again.”