The 9th commandment is pretty clear, but is it OK to tell little white lies to protect the innocent, save face, or keep your popularity?

I say no, but let me give you an example.

You have someone who sings on your worship team. He/she has a heart of gold and is a good friend, but he/she can't sing!!!! Should you say, that was excellent singing you did? Great job?

Dan

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haha, i know what you mean, one of our percussion players doesnt exactly have a feel for music, but have been in the band before i was there... sometimes when we practice and i realise he is doing something weird i act like i didn't hear it, and when the band stops, i talk them through some stuff and suddenly my face brightens up(I'M A LIER!!!) and tell him enthusiasticly: hey, you know what would be nice for this song? if you do this and this and this......
but i guess in your case it's a bit difficult, you cant go: Hey, you know what would be nice for this song? try to sing the verse in the same key as the band!!
I have someone on my team that rotates on and off during the month that does not sing well. She is a very enthusiastic worshiper and does add energy as we lead the congregation. So the sound techs keep her a little lower in the mix and in the monitors so as not to throw off the other background vocalist. I haven't told her that her singing is bad because I don't want her to be self conscious and dampen her worship. She does add to the worship experience in other ways.

I also have not told her she sings well and I wouldn't do that, it's not true. I compliment the entire team on a job well done. I compliment individual soloist when they sing a special part or song. Individual instrumentalists that went above and beyond. But mostly I compliment the team as a whole. I do compliment her on what she does do well but I would never lie to her or anyone else about her ability. I have had to explain to some of the other vocalists one-on-one my reasoning for keeping her on the singing rotation and they are fine with my logic.
Compliment on something else (like 'I liked it when you lifted your hands on that song, it helped people worship'), and encourage any improvement....
or I really enjoyed that part you sang in between the verse in the chorus. You know in that instrumental section!
Yeah, reminds me of Brad Paisley's video for the song "Celebrity." At the end, William Shatner (one of the judges on a fictional talent show) tells Paisley that he enjoyed the ending. Paisley asks if he meant the little part where he went high, and Shatner says no, the end. Where the music stops. Great stuff.
I am not a country music fan, but that Brad Paisley can shred. I also like that he doesn't take himself seriously. I saw a special on TV (Austin City Limits maybe?) which was Brad Paisley and John Mayer player together. The concert ended with a bluesy shred-off between the two. I think that may be what heaven will be like...
To me, if this person can not sing the perhaps this person is not doing what they are called to do. God equips the called to the area's he has created them to do.

Yes he looks upon the heart of man, but truly would you be able to listen to someone sing worship off key no matter how enthusiasticly they could sing? (I do not get annoyed when I take breaks and stand beside someone who is offkey..but to be on a praise band..can throw people off)
Also, this person could be out of the will of God for his/her life. If she has a heart of gold, perhaps she should be in the ministry of helps or an intercessor.
So, you can avoid the truth and compliment on something else and just not say anything about the bad. What if it is to the point of distraction?

Avoiding the truth is what I call the "Paula Abdul" approach and not the "Simon Cowell" approach. Paula Abdul would say after someone on that show auditions badly. "I like your hair." Simon's turn, "That was the worst singing I have ever heard."

Disclaimer: And before anyone rants about the show American Idol, just the name itself sounds like you are breaking the 1st commandment by watching it, but I don't worship the show, the judges or the contestants, I just watch it.
What if it is to the point of distraction?

Dan, if your role is worship leader, then you just drew the short straw. At some point, you will probably have to deal with this. Choose to do it the least destructive way for your given situation.

Yes, by all means build people up for the good things they are doing: showing up on time; bringing their music, being a good example of enthusiastic and authentic worship, etc

But the worship team is there to lead the people, not hinder them. If the person's abilities are lacking, then you should be working on a plan of improvement.

Start general: take all the singers to a vocal workshop (it's always better to find a way to let someone else break the bad news; then you can step in and say, hey, why don't I work with you on this?). You could also watch some vocal training cds together as a team (just the singers).

You could also make a general statement to the entire team, saying "This fall we're going to start taking an honest look at ourselves so that we can lead the people better. So don't be surprised when we start to make some suggestions. Let's challenge ourselves to greater heights."

Then you could record the sessions (a brutally honest way to let everone make comments, but it does work), or you and maybe an outside person could begin evaluating ALL the different areas of the team. (at this point, if a person suspects they aren't very good, they may step down to avoid the embarrassment)

What I wouldn't do is make it a big issue that's got to be settled by tomorrow. Be honest, be gentle, but in the end be firm. Remember what Proverbs says: Faithful are the wounds of a friend.
Dan, please allow me to make a second comment, that may or may not apply: Be sure that this person really has a problem, and that it's not just hearsay.

I once had a member of my team (call her "Betty") who really expressed the heart of worship better than any of the other singers, both on or off the stage. But my lead BGV always kept whispering to me that "Betty really needs to go; she sings so off-key its throwing the rest of us off."

Because I concentrated so much on the instrumental portion of the team in those days, I just took the person's word for it. So when "Betty" finally came to me and said she was stepping down (she could feel the unwelcomeness from the other singers), I didn't fight too hard to keep her, thinking that God had worked this out.

Turns out it was my lead BGV who was sharp all the time. I lost a good person for the wrong reasons, and have regretted it ever since.
Keeping us on track....My original post is not actually completely about a specific issue as the example I gave. It could be a drummer not having chops, a bass player, even a person outside of the worship team such as a volunteer who can't make coffee. My point is what if a person in your church or ministry isn't cut out to fill the position they are trying to fill and what God made them to be? The IT guy doesn't know a thing about computers. The janitor doesn't have the knack to mop the floor. All of them have the heart of a servant and are great friends. There may be others who would more appropriately fill their shoes or if they stepped down. I guess my question is how can you let that person know that they are not doing what God wants them to do? You can tell by their failures. Sometimes these things simply work themselves out as they eventually get "fired" by a leader or they make a drastic mistake, which can lead to offense and them leaving the church. In the mean time, can you say something that will not offend them, but would give them the hint that they need to move on to their appropriate place? Maybe say nothing if you are not their leader or the senior pastor?
I have had a few in the past that I've had to talk to. It's not fun but needed sometimes. One was a singer that could sing well enough but would snipe about any new singer that came into the group and would stand Sunday morning with a death grip on the microphone and look horrified the whole time she was singing. Her husband was our most capable sound engineer. I explained to her in a very friendly way that we needed to grow our worship team with new members. I knew it made her uncomfortable but it's what I needed for the team. Also that we needed to lead our worship with joy and enthusiasm. Looking physically so uncomfortable was not a good thing. I used a number of scriptures to back up my position. I offered to help her any way I could to work out these issues. She declined and said she would handle them. The situation did not improve and her husband became increasingly hard to deal with. One morning during our sound check I said that my guitar was not in my monitor at all and could it be turned up. I was greeted with "No, I can hear you just fine" from the sound tech. I went back to the booth and explained that yes, I did actually need to hear my electric guitar in my monitor and yes, he would in fact turn it up for me. After the service was over they both retired from the team and have since move to a different church that is more fitting to their worship style.

The other was a media tech that did a great job creating our projection media every week and ran the MediaShout program during our contemporary services. He does not like contemporary worship. A few months ago he started becoming more and more tense, frustrated, and outright rude during church. I could tell that everything we did frustrated him even more. The pastor asking him to play a video clip, me altering my song routing and tossing in one more chorus (with the proper vocal queues). Anyway I talked to him and explained that worship was suppose to be joyful, not painful and aggravating. Serving in the church should not create so much stress and animosity. That we all appreciated his service and commitment to doing such a good job with the media. But that maybe there was a mismatch with his personal beliefs and where he was serving in our church. We decided maybe he should take a little time off and sit with his family in the traditional worship service and reconnect with his faith. He has been doing this and seems very much happier on Sunday. Last week he brought me a jar of pepper jam he made. Never had it before but it's amazing and we must have talked for 30 minutes after church and had a great time.

All three of these people were very good friends of mine from way back when I just started attending this church.

So tread lightly. And no matter how lightly you tread the outcome could go either way. Be ready for that and don't take it personally if the outcome is poor. But some things just must be dealt with if they are effecting the rest of the team or worship on Sunday morning. Include the senior pastor in your thought process. He (or she) may know of something going on in that persons life that is effecting them. Loss of a job, family troubles, etc.

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