Choir yesterday was fun again.  We are learning the new music that we’ll be singing in 2009.  These new arrangements are not our typical style.  Therefore, our first couple of practices learning this stuff have been hard.

The choirs of Special Gathering of Indian River are the outreach extension of our ministry.  We are a ministry within the mentally challenged community.  Our members are developmentally disabled.  Choir consists of people who want to go into churches and the community to help share the gospel and to help educate the local church to the spiritual needs of people who are mentally challenged. 

Anyone can join the choir who has shown a commitment to The Special Gathering.  However, choir is hard.  We are keenly aware that when we perform we represent the Lord Jesus to the community.  We represent the mentally challenged community, Special Gathering and, of course, ourselves.  Much of what we require from our choir members goes against the grain of the overarching principles of The Special Gathering.  For instance, at SpG, we want our members to question and to give input.  If at all possible, we are repsonsive to the needs, desires and requests of our members.

However, that is not the case in choir.  We need to have a commitment level that is deeper than we would ever ask from our members.  When I stand before the choir as their director, I expect their full and undivided attention.  During rehearsals and performances, they are to look at me.  In addition, I require that when we are performing they are to obey without questioning me. 

Of course, they still have a choice in all of this.  They are given the rules before they join the choir; and they are not required to stay in the choir. More than one person has left the choir because it was too difficult.

Last month, I tried something new and let the choir pick out the musical selections they liked.  That’s a good thing; because otherwise, I believe they would’ve all walked out in exasperation.  In these new pieces, the timing, the beat, the words are all different from what we are accustomed to and, consequently, harder to learn. 

The new arrangements are modern day choruses wrapped around familiar hymns.  The problem:  My members only know the Christian music I’ve taught them.  They like the hymns but they don’t know the words.  Also, the words in the typical hymn are more complicated than the choruses I choose for them to learn. 

But yesterday, we turned the corner and it was fun again.  “It’s time to go,” the timekeeper/member said.  There was a collective groan.  No one wanted to stop. 

Have you found that hard work seems to produce the most satisfaction from your members?  Is there something that you do that demands a greater commitment from your members?  What is it?