In the wake of COVID-19, a common sight outside many businesses was a sign reading "HELP WANTED" or "NOW HIRING." This was a clear indication of the pandemic's impact on the workforce and how challenging it was for many sectors to bounce back. Interestingly, this phenomenon wasn't limited to the commercial world; it extended to our places of worship, particularly affecting the realm of church music and worship.
During the height of the pandemic, our church, like many others, closed its doors, leading to the suspension of regular programs and activities. Worship services moved online, providing a digital solace for many. However, when we reopened, we faced a new challenge: reassembling our congregation and, more specifically, our music ministry.
Many church members found comfort in watching streams from their living rooms. Some discovered churches closer to their homes or simply chose not to return. The impact was particularly felt in our music department. The Salvation Army, unique in its approach, largely relies on home-grown talent. Our musicians and gospel artists are typically members of our church, nurtured and trained within our community. Unlike many churches that hire professional musicians, we invest in developing our own.
This approach has its merits. It fosters a deep sense of community and provides a platform for personal and spiritual growth through music. However, post-COVID, we've seen a significant drop in participation. The once-thriving music ministry is now in need of revival.
It's time for us to perhaps take a leaf out of the book of local businesses. Just as restaurants and stores displayed "Help Wanted" signs, it might be necessary for us to openly invite new talent into our music ministry. We could consider placing a literal or metaphorical sign on our church's front lawn, calling for musicians, worship leaders, band members, and gospel artists.
While we've traditionally not paid our musicians, recognizing the hard work and dedication that goes into their craft, we might need to reconsider this stance. Offering some form of compensation, whether monetary or otherwise, could be a way to appreciate their contributions and encourage participation.
This is not just about filling positions; it's about reigniting a passion for worship and music within our church. The pandemic has undoubtedly changed many aspects of our lives, including how we worship and engage with our faith. As we navigate this new normal, our focus should be on rebuilding and strengthening our community, particularly the music ministry that plays such a vital role in our worship experience.
Let us come together, with open hearts and minds, ready to welcome new talents and rekindle the spirit of worship through music. The post-COVID era presents us with a unique opportunity to redefine and revitalize our approach to church music. With faith, hope, and a little creativity, we can turn this challenge into a blessing for our church and its music ministry.