The one big drawback about passion

I suspect this will resonate with groups of all sizes and types, but I think choirs and praise teams will relate most. One of the most frustrating things about group music ministry is the unfortunate task of dealing with all the different personalities, quirks and idiosyncrasies of people. To call it challenging would be an understatement, wouldn’t it?

But if you’re a part of a choir, praise team or other group music ministry, you know exactly what I mean. The lack of enthusiasm. Tardiness. Absenteeism. A less than positive attitude. In a word, Apathy. The sad truth is not everyone that is a part of any given group is necessarily there for the right reasons. But I think that’s a lot less common than perhaps we think. Many people join the music ministry because they love it, but have simply been there so long that they aren’t excited about it anymore, as I described in Music Ministry Auto-Pilot, it’s a routine that has become routine.

We must also understand that not everything is as obvious as it seems. We often don’t know why a person is constantly late, missing rehearsals, generally apathetic, or whatever the problem may be.  And I’ve found over the years when you have such things happening across the group as a whole it’s a sign of a bigger issue or issues. The group as a whole may not be happy with some aspect of the way the ministry is administrated.

I’ve been talking about passion and love for ministry here lately and how they both intertwine. It is the life-blood of every ministry. Without it a ministry can’t be effective or, in my opinion, anointed. But here’s something I want you to really pay close attention to and understand, especially if you’re in a leadership position.

Passion cannot be mandated.

Let me explain what I mean by that. You see, the typical reaction to wide-spread apathy in a group is one of frustration. After all, this stuff should be obvious by now. This is music ministry. We know this.  Right? So leaders who find themselves dealing with these kinds of issues can sometimes react in a rather scolding manner. We start addressing the issues at rehearsals. And even though we often use all the right language, scripture and teaching, often it all comes across rather combative. Sometimes it even comes across like scolding. I’ve been guilty of this a lot, I won’t pretend otherwise.

It’s hard not to. Believe me I get it.  But the thing is, you can never get someone passionate about something by forcing it down their throats or beating them over the heads with it. Your motivation for doing so may be absolutely born out of passion, but the approach is often all wrong. Passion cannot be mandated. It can’t be forced upon people. It can’t be an ultimatum. That doesn’t negate the need for boundaries and established rules by far. But we’re talking something that goes beyond just showing up when you’re supposed to and doing what you’re supposed to do. We’re talking about enthusiastic, passionate participation in a ministry.
That kind of passion can only be shared. Shown. Lived outwardly in front of people. When it is experienced that way it is felt. Seen. Understood. And eventually, caught. I’ve come to understand over the years that the more passionate I am about my own service, my own position, my own ministry- about everything I do related to music ministry- the more it changes people’s attitudes around me.

I’ve always been known around my church for my love of the music ministry. Being passionate about it. But it seems here lately that reputation has grown even more. Not because I go around saying it though. I just am. It shows in the way I play, the way I sing, the way I direct. I can’t help but show it, because it’s just in me. And so these days when I speak to the choir or praise team about issues or challenges, the conversation is different. My tone is different.

It’s still deliberate, still one of authority, still adamant. But nowadays when I talk to my praise team about the importance of perfecting our sound, it’s coming less from that place of frustration and more from a place of  “I so want you to feel the way I feel”, or “when you begin to really understand this the way God gave it to me it’s going to transform this whole experience for you”.

I talk about how powerful and anointed our ministry can be. I talk about the importance of knowing our songs,  just like I always have. But now instead of negative language about “not sounding a mess” or “getting up there messing up” or “half-doing it”….you get the idea….I find myself instead talking about how powerful it is to be absolutely sure of every note and every word of a song. I talk about how freeing it is to sing without any fear or doubts. How it frees you to really worship God and feel His presence in a much more powerful way. I talk about how it affects the audience, and changes the atmosphere, and makes the people more receptive to the word of God.

But these days I don’t just say “we have to do it, it’s important”. I talk about what a wonderful feeling it is when God uses us mightily that way. I speak from a place of love and passion that they can see, and hear, and feel. Passion  expressed, shared, lived outwardly, is caught. It’s embraced. I’ve been doing this a very long time, so I know how all this sounds. I know it’s easier said than done, and I wouldn’t sit here and try to convince you that I always get it right.

But I do know that the more passionately I approach ministry from every angle-especially conversations about it- the more of it I see creeping into others around me.


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14 Responses to The one big drawback about passion

  1. stephanie daniel- etienne says:

    Awesome Read!! I will share this with my choir. Thank you Coach!!

  2. George says:

    Ron, Ron, Ron
    What can I say, to those of us just learning this is great.

  3. Ron says:

    You’re most welcome Penny! Your blog always does it for me.

  4. Alyce Harris says:

    “Passion can’t be mandated.” Love that! I guess that walking out your passion shows others how your feelings make you behave. And if yours is a Godly passion then your behavior and conduct should follow. Some how “Love Is Kind” (a 90s congregational song) springs to mind right about here. : )

  5. Very true for any kind of group or team Ron. Your passion for something can shine though and affect others!

  6. Wow… your teaching today is exactly what every team needs to know and experience!

    Not just for music ministry, but for every type of team. I was just listening to a man today complaining about his workplace environment. No one wants to be there. Nearly everyone is shirking their responsibilities and blaming it on other people.

    The work isn’t getting done and everyone feels terrible going in to work. I know the owner by his reputation. He is hard on his employees, always focusing on errors. He hates what he’s doing and he hates his staff.

    His lack of passion flows downward and outward to the whole team. I wish somehow he could see you in action, Ron!

    This is another excellent article – your church is very lucky to have you, Ron!

  7. Olga Hermans says:

    Passion is certainly the drive behind everything that we do; without passion it is hard to keep up. I think that God is passionate about us; so, we should be passionate as well about everything that we do and everywhere we go.

  8. Matthew Reed says:

    You can’t mandate or teach passion…you can model it and infect people with it though

  9. Tiffany says:

    Great blog & very true.

  10. Penny says:

    Great article… I especially like the part about passion can not be mandated. That is true about all areas of life that we are passionate about! 😉 and when you said Passion expressed, shared, lived outwardly, is caught. It’s embraced. love that..thank you for giving me some thoughts to ponder.

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