The Myth of the Quick Fix
Could it be that the most simple and achievable investment is discarded for the myth of the quick fix?
Here’s a story.
I was a young adult working in a large church as their interim worship leader. Our Sunday night service did not have drummer. It was sparsely attended and our main drummers on the roster were not interested. Then I was introduced to a teen named Sean. He had a huge heart, but could barely keep time and his playing was about as stiff as you could imagine, too. Sean, however, wanted to learn.
In the next weeks, he would bring his drum kit to the church and I would set up a keyboard and jam with him on a few of our staple songs. I coached him, encouraged him and taught him what his role was as a drummer. We did this for hours on end and were systematically kicked out of almost every room in the church because the loud noise we were making.
Eventually, Sean debuted on a Sunday night. It was not pretty, but we had a drummer. Each week he played he grew and in time he contributed more than he distracted. So, where once we had no drummer an emerging new member arrived on our roster. He played even on some main service weekends.
Several years later, after moving, I returned to a music store in my old town and by chance was in the drum department only to have a young man say, “Rich, remember me?” “I’m Sean, and you would not believe it. I not only work here, but I am now playing professionally!” We briefly reminisced about the time we spent together when he was rather green musician. I was moved to see how I was a part, even if a small one, in helping Sean become much more than the teen that could barely keep time.
Too many times in ministry, or any enterprise we engage in, the pull is to find a quick fix to the problem presenting itself. After all, we all love to solve problems. Is that not our job? Simply, are we missing the point of what ministry is all about by hiring, programming or changing our worship ministry with the latest idea rather than investing in the longer term? Will adding a campus really solve things? Does hiring a younger worship leader with little experience last? Can we just lower the volume?
What makes a worship ministry work is not about the quick fix. That is a myth. What makes it work is investment in people. So, our job is to build people not solve a problem. No program, however glistening at the start, can be sustained without the greatest resource—people. And, people are never a quick fix. You can hire their talents if you have the dough or even steal them from other churches in town, but if you cannot build and reproduce them you have a house of cards. What you sow is what you reap—especially when you are talking about people.
Every new idea from a zippy conference most of us can never practically emulate. The gear is beyond our reach and the fashion is just not transferable. Does that v-neck even come in my size? There is a lot of hype for sale out there but what we clearly know is that people matter. And, when we get that we succeed. If we build people, it is more likely all the talent and resources they bring come our way. It is not the other way around. Never.
I see lead pastors and their teams tired from trying to prop up their weekend service programming and disappointed that it does not look like the last conference they attended or the fill-in-the-blank church across the state. The frustrated expectation is that everything be slick while rightfully wanting spiritually healthy leaders of worship. But, how can any team win the game without even knowing the fundamentals? And when and where do they learn these things? Who is there to coach, mentor and catalyze the most gifted creative ones in the area of worship arts?
In our setting of worship leading, we need not fret if our team is not a fully professional band. Even with money, that is hard to field. Remember Sean? What the goal should be is the creation of a farm system. We need to think smaller and target younger if possible. In other words, build your teens and younger adults with the mentoring and skills required and they then will grow up to support you and the church at large with their lives. No effective worship leader is born overnight. They are forged by years of training and experience. This is true with any other leader in our church. Why do we expect something different from our worship and arts leaders? Who is going to solve this issue? Could it be that the most simple and achievable investment is discarded for the myth of the quick fix?
Myth versus Fact
- This new idea will reduce complaints vs. Spiritual maturity brings unity
- I should hire the best talent if needed vs. Time invested brings more than money
- The latest gear will solve our issues vs. People solve problems
- Our young worship leader can fix it vs. Yes, if you invest in training for the long haul
- Copying successful churches works vs. Learning from people not hype is the formula
- Looking good grows my church vs. People with God’s power grow your church
In this show…
- Host: Rich Kirkpatrick, twitter: rkweblog
- Panel: Joel Klampert, twitter: joelklampert
- Panel: Conner Byrd, twitter: worshipcity
- Panel: Rob Rash, twitter: robrash