I love working in ministry with all my heart. I feel like I was born for it. But one thing that hasn’t come naturally to me is guarding my time. 

When I first started working at the church, a lot of the ladies that volunteered wanted to sing together one-on-one and get training. 

Somehow the combination of being an extrovert, being almost completely right-brained, and having a love for teaching made good time management feel so unnatural to me at first. I just wanted to invest in our volunteers and not have to cut conversations short or turn people down.

While I’m glad that care for others was my natural inclination in this area, the problem was, I soon found myself teaching basic music theory and beginning harmony to our least experienced singers, and running out of time to pour in to the leaders that were further along in their singing journey.  

It was as if in the back of my mind I was thinking, “They already sing well, so training them isn’t as urgent.” But after a while it dawned on me that this may be bad stewardship of my time. 

Please don’t misunderstand, I love helping all levels of singers, but it is now my solemn conviction that I should spend most of my training time on the most advanced singers. And this is why: I have found that I see the most fruit from my investment. 

The singers that already have some of the basics under their belt often end up volunteering in the music area longer, work on what I teach them more diligently, and sometimes end up in full time ministry as worship leaders somewhere. 

In contrast, the people who have wanted vocal training from me that weren’t as far along tended to sometimes get frustrated with the process of trying to get better, not dedicate as much outside practice time to what I showed them, and often eventually move on to serve in other areas.

My theory is that a lot of those choices were what helped the advanced singers be the advanced singers in the first place; I was just seeing a continuation of habits. It was the chicken. Or the egg - I’m actually not really sure how that word picture works with this story. But I’ll say it this way: you should mostly invest in people that are already investing in their own development.

Spend your time training people who have shown motivation and growth already. Watch for “mentees” who take your time together to heart; if you gave them something to work on or do, did they follow through? Do they remember appointments with you and show up ready to grow and learn? Are you seeing FRUIT? 

I’ve learned that I can simultaneously love everyone equally and spend time with them unequally. That’s the unfortunate necessity of being one finite person. 

You will probably see greater results by honing in a handful of volunteers, max. Prayerfully and observantly decide, on purpose, who YOU would like to invest in musically. Practically, we can’t really be all things to all people, but we can pour into some, and that’s a beautiful part of our calling in the Church.

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