Compulsory Attendance for Band Members?

How do some of you in leadership deal with an individual that appears to feel he is the "best there is", and takes liberties in frequent time off, and being consistently late for rehearsals.

The man is really good in his craft, he just does not seem concerned the burden he places upon others when he is absent.

I know this is a matter of the heart, compulsory attendance mandates from leadership seem to only work for a very short time with most individuals that exhibit these tendencies. This has been my past experience with this same issue in other worship venues.

An ideal situation would be to have depth in personnel, and rotate them on a scheduled basis, but there again, "ideal" is the key word here. This guy is good, and therefore, hard to replace due to the required amount of ability to play the material we cover

I would like to read some reflections on dealing with the heart issues, leaving the carrot and stick behind.

'When the carrot is consumed, the stick is becomes the only remaining tool of motivation"

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Comment by Stevo on August 21, 2012 at 5:11pm

So what if he's good. A tool isn't of much use if it causes more trouble than it's worth. A sharp knife with a rough handle is quite difficult to use.

As an example - when I got married, we asked a friend to play organ for the wedding. She was the long time organist for a very large and nationally known church in our area and quite good. My mother in law wasn't happy because she refused to come to rehearsal stating she had done this a million times before. As it turns out, she showed up for the wedding right on time with no music in hand, stepped up to the organ and was amazing in her timing with the wedding and played the songs perfectly. It was inspiring and frightening at the same time.

Is your guy like this?

Comment by Josh Simpson on August 22, 2012 at 3:11pm

It's a tough one.  My youth minister and his wife are two of my best praise team singers...and are almost always late.  I've even started the rehearsals earlier on Sunday mornings, but I hate punishing the rest because of two people.  I've talked to them privately, but they just can't get there on time.  They really are being disrespectful of the rest of the group.

Comment by bet nich on August 22, 2012 at 4:13pm

I can see both sides of this - on the one hand, flakiness and Latitude hurts the others in the group.

But on the other, I can see the viewpoint of the musician - perhaps burned out and tired of people depending on and taking him/her for granted. Maybe they could be allowed to train another as a replacement for their time off, as long as it is scheduled ahead of time and not last-minute absences...

Comment by bet nich on August 22, 2012 at 4:15pm

Sorry...meant 'Latetitude' - the attitude of coming in late...

Comment by Wulf Forrester-Barker on August 23, 2012 at 12:28pm

So the problem is that this guy is invaluable because he can cope with the range of music you cover in your services but that his habits don't support the rest of the team?

I think of a couple of angles that might help work through this. One is to think about how much the individual is holding up the team. If they are playing an instrument like bass or drums, that is pretty foundational; if they aren't in place, how can anyone else build? On the other hand, in most contemporary music styles, something like flute or clarinet is probably going to be icing on the cake. When I play electric guitar with the youth band, I'm in the second camp although I use that freedom to encourage and support the kids. Perhaps that is an additional role your "genius" could take on?

The other angle is to consider less demanding music. If you can't cope without the loose cannon, then sacrifice the complexities so that the rest of your team isn't dependent on him. If fancy music is a source of dissension, then cut it out!

Comment by Toni on August 23, 2012 at 1:58pm

This is a very difficult one, because so much more depends on the why and the who than the what. I'll just 'think out loud' a little.

At face value I'd say that if you want to keep him on the team then he needs to be placed in a situation where his presence is non-essential, and the band can function just as well with as without him.

Another alternative would be to give him responsibility that he might step up to the occasion. If he's enormously more talented than everyone else and able to pick and choose what he does then that could be at the root of why he's so unreliable. Having a more demanding role could make him feel valuable and needed.

Is his heart there to worship God or is he a musician who just loves to play where ever he can as long as it's at his inconvenience? On that basis I'd suggest explaining that for worship you need worshipers, then sideline him until he either has a change of heart or leaves the band. I have a slightly similar issue where I have an extremely limited number of musicians available, but only 1 other who is a worshiper. The others come and go as they feel, and with the other worshiper away I've had to put the worship team on hold for a few weeks.

Comment by Timothy Nelson on August 23, 2012 at 4:46pm
Have meeting with the whole team and decide on some rules, like if you can't make practice you sit out that day, or if you are going to be more late you........

I would also talk about dedication :-)


Some people really have issues with being late, or not coming at all.
Comment by Diana Jurss on August 23, 2012 at 11:24pm

I'm kinda surprised nobody has asked about his personal situation, such as...Does he have a long commute?

Does he have little kids and child-care issues? Is he working full-time and also trying to go to school?

Things like that can have a big impact on a persons availability. I don't know if it would influence your decision what to do but I'm sure he would appreciate being asked and considered..

Comment by Toni on August 24, 2012 at 9:23am

Having been one that played almost continuously while having a demanding job and a growing family, while at the same time living outside the town where our church was based I'd not really considered that an issue. As indeed it should not be - if the mans heart were in there but practicalities got in the way I don't think the OP would be asking about heart issues.

Or maybe I'm wrong and the relationship between the various worship musicians is so poor that no-one actually knows about his personal circumstances? That's a bit horrifying really, that there would be so little fellowship and interaction that the OP wouldn't know about those kind of things unless you're dealing with a team of 50 people, and even then.....

A question I'd ask is: can we do anything that helps the transition between a heart that is selfish and a heart that worships?

I'm starting to see people in those 2 categories in church. Some want worship because they want to receive. Others want to worship because they want to give something back. I've also bee a bit shocked at some of the people in the wanting to receive category, and the way they've behaved when presented with a situation where they are expected to give o themselves. Sometimes the issue is training and culture/expectation, but sometimes it's having a dead-sea heart.

And that sounds like another thread I probably won't start.

Comment by Stevo on August 27, 2012 at 12:53am

OP - John - where are you?


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