It’s common knowledge to most people that musicians who play together over a period of time start to get tighter and tighter at their craft. After a while watching them play together feels like you’re watching them read each other’s minds or something. This bond- this “gel”, if you will, is something that bands work very deliberately to develop. They do so by practicing together a lot, of course.
But bands have a tendency to do something that other groups- be it a choir, praise team, ensemble or other group- don’t tend to do. Simply put, band members tend to be a lot more likely to hang out- together socially. I shared with you a while back in another blog how the band at my church and I have developed such a bond that they anticipate what I want when I’m teaching, even when my back is to them. That same cohesiveness extends to Sunday morning when we play together. We have gotten to a place where each member knows every other member’s style, their strengths, their weaknesses- we even know each other’s musical preferences.
Aside from the fact that we have worked together for so many years, I believe a big part of what has created this bond between us is that we regularly spend time just talking and laughing with each other. This usually happens at musician’s rehearsal, but it’s something we always take time to do. Musician’s rehearsal for us is like going out somewhere and just enjoying each other’s company as friends. Sure, we’re there for a reason and we have an agenda we need to get accomplished. But we just enjoy the process itself. We love playing together. But it’s the time we spend just laughing and clowning around that really makes the difference.
So, how often does your choir have a social event, like a dinner or some other outing? When is the last time all the members of the praise team or band got together away from the church? This is something most ministries just don’t think about, actually. For some- and understandably so- they see it as yet another thing to do, or another place to have to be. But a group that spends time laughing, talking and just spending time together reaps huge benefits in their ministry.
Here are 4 ways your music ministry benefits when the members hang out regularly.
1. The members get to know each other more personally.
Although it’s common for some members of a group to know each other and perhaps even call each other regularly, most of us only see and communicate with each other at church and then at rehearsal. Having regular social gatherings gives members a chance to get to know each other more personally. This often leads to more cooperation in the group, less disagreeing, less jealousy, pettiness, etc.
2. Your members start to develop similar goals and wishes for the group as a whole
There’s nothing like being in an environment where you can talk freely. Groups who hang out find that the members get closer. When people become close they often take on similar views about things that are important to them. When a choir, for example, begins doing things regularly as a group, you’ll find that the members begin to share a common vision for the ministry. A greater sense of pride and “ownership” develops.
3. Hanging out socially on a regular basis creates a strong bond
When a group starts making a deliberate effort to hang out and do social events together on a regular basis, they quickly start developing that same kind of “gel” effect that most musicians feel. Becoming closer as individuals makes you closer as a group. You’ll soon find the effects of this closer bond showing up not only in rehearsals, but in performances.
4. Having regular social gatherings for fun breaks up the monotony
Most music ministries have a similar routine; Have rehearsal to prepare for Sunday. Sing Sunday. Announce next rehearsal. Repeat. You’re not careful the repetitive nature of it can cause your ministry to slide into complacency or “autopilot” as I discussed in another article. Having regular social events helps keep your group’s ministry fresh and exciting by breaking up the “routine”.
So whether it’s a praise team, choir or some other group, try to make an effort to do some kind of social outing regularly. Do simple things like a “pot luck”, or bowling, skating, etc. Monthly may be too often for many people, so consider doing it every other month or even Quarterly, even for example. Any musical group that spends time laughing, talking and enjoying each other socially becomes, a tighter, closer, more cohesive group. And that makes for some powerful ministry.