Summer is in full swing here at the Ferrara house. My wife and kids are in full summer mode!
Does your music ministry team or choir take a month off? I have found that the month of July is a great time to slow the activity down for a few weeks. It gives everyone time to refresh and recharge, and it also gets me out of the routine of planning. It also helps me get other things done. See a list HERE.
If you are a music director and heading into a break, here’s four things to do with the time…
- Plan Christmas. Seriously, do it. Find new arrangements for Christmas. Please don’t do the same program you did last year, or in 2003. I have done this (once). This year, plan a program to ignite and inspire your congregation. By searching and planning now, you have time to order the charts and plan the rehearsals. Maybe do something like this. Get it done!
- Evaluate. What is working well in your ministry teams? What needs to improve? Use the “down time” to whiteboard a plan on how to grow the areas that need it. Example…Is your children’s choir down in attendance? Meet a few parents for coffee and see what would make the choir more accessible. Then plan an Ice Cream rehearsal. Invite kids from the parish and their parents for a 3 song sing-a-long in the choir room and breakout to the parish hall for ice cream afterwards. Your parish would love it, and it is events like this that we don’t ususally have time to “get to” during the full schedule months. Identify a growth area, and go attack it.
- Delegate. What are you currently doing in your daily, weekly, or monthly plan that you could delegate if you had time to train volunteers to do? Example…Run the sound system? Make songsheets or songbooks? Print copies for rehearsals? Tab scores into Finale? Schedule the time, train the volunteers, then go take on the things that only YOU can do, and do them well.
- Rest. Pick a week to slow it down. Eat a Kit Kat bar. Sleep in, go to daily mass (maybe at another nearby parish). Meet friends for coffee. Pray in the morning without rushing out the door. If you can’t get away for a vacation, talk to your pastor or business manager and let them know you’d like to do a “staycation”. You need to be full and recharged so that you can pour into others. If you can’t be away, perhaps your pastor would allow you some extra downtime during the week to recharge.
The majority of my team doesn’t want to take time off. Many of them share that Sunday mass is the highlight of their week. I understand and appreciate their enthusiasm for serving. However, taking a sabbath is scriptural. God said that we should rest. Taking three or four weeks off to recharge is a good thing! Besides, I always tell them that they need a break…from ME!
What to do if you’re a choir member or music ministry team member while on break…
- Pray about where God is calling you to serve. Ask the Lord if He wants you to continue serving in music ministry. Maybe He is calling you to a new adventure. Maybe He wants you to grow in your current gift. Use the downtime to ask Him!
- Learn a new skill on your instrument. Learn a few new songs. Learn new scales. Watch Youtube to see how people are using your instrument on popular worship recordings (or look for old candy commercials). Google “How to play “song” on electric guitar or (whatever your instrument is). There are people doing tutorials all over the web.
- Just like your music director. Take time to rest and enjoy time with your family!
- Visit a different parish to see what their music program is like (providing they aren’t on break too!). Bring a songsheet back for your music director. They will appreciate seeing what hymns and songs other parishes are using!
What will YOU be doing on the choir break for summer? What else should we be doing during the summer months?