Job Description for the Music Director in a United Methodist Congregation
What Is the Task of the Music Director?
To lead people of all ages in the congregation in music-making experiences so that they:
- May grow in understanding the Christian faith and music's role in that faith.
- Will develop and strengthen their relationship with God.
- Will become better equipped for daily living as faithful Christian disciples.
- Will gain basic music skills so that they may effectively serve the church as music leaders.
As you begin to think about the focus of your work, reflect for a moment on these questions. Your responses will help you think about the people in your community (including your congregation) and how your congregation's music program might serve them best. You may want to discuss these questions with others in your congregation (such as the pastor, other musicians, and worship leaders) and the community.
- What three concerns and what three hopes do you believe people of various ages have about their community and their faith? How do these relate to living as Christian disciples and good neighbors? How can the music program address these?
- What kinds of music experiences might help people develop a closer relationship with God and help them understand more about how the Bible and the Christian faith can be resources for daily living?
- What specific groups of people are not being reached by your congregation's music program?
- What existing or new music programs should your congregation sponsor for these people?
My vision or hope for our congregation's music program:
During this year, I will take the following steps toward making my vision a reality:
Responsibilities of the Music Director
- To coordinate the planning and implementation of a comprehensive music ministry for the congregation and community.
- To continually learn both about music and about the people in the congregation and community so that you can plan music appropriate to their needs.
- To be familiar with the overall goals the congregation has set for itself, how these goals influence its music programs, and how these goals may be extended.
- To keep the congregation informed about the music needs of people, the goals of the music program, and the resources available that will help the congregation reach these goals.
- To promote the spiritual life of the congregation and its members through music ministry.
- To be responsible for guiding the work of the music program through the year; and if there is a music committee, planning its agendas and presiding at its meetings.
- To plan, at least quarterly, for worship with the pastor, musicians (i.e., accompanist, children's choir leader, handbell choir director, etc.), and others who may be responsible for planning and leading worship. This cooperative planning, led by the pastor, will outline all worship services, including the use of Scripture, music, and special services.
- To develop and support effective musical leadership in the church, along with the help of the worship chair or team leader.
- To link with organizations, people, and resources in and beyond the congregation that are concerned about church music.
- To become aware of the literature and materials available that are related to music.
- To take part in and represent the concerns of music on the various boards of the local church and the charge conference.
- Take a second look at your responses in the "Opportunities" section above. If you have not answered these questions, take some time to do so now.
- Talk with people in your congregation or in other congregations who are concerned about music in the church.
- Meet with your pastor and leader(s) of music. Talk about your mutual expectations, hopes, and values related to the congregation and its music opportunities, and discuss how you can work with them in planning your congregation's music.
- Consider the music hopes and concerns of people in your congregation. Ask questions! Listen!
- Evaluate the present music program. What is working well? Where are there weaknesses? What are the gaps?
- Recruit people to help you in your work.
Skills and Interests Helpful in Your Job
- Ability to listen to and communicate with people of all ages and musical backgrounds.
- Interest in a wide range of musical experiences.
- Ability to work with volunteers and committees.
- Skills for researching music issues and programs related to people in the congregation and community.
- Skills for researching issues involved in worship.
- Sensitivity to what makes worship effective.
Training for Your Job
The amount of training you need will directly correspond to the size of the music program and the number of responsibilities assigned to you. You may or may not need formal training to do your job effectively; however, participating in continuing education opportunities is strongly recommended.
From time to time the church offers workshops that can help you in your task, in addition to the many training opportunities available within the larger music community. Check with your pastor, the committee on nominations and personnel, and/or your district superintendent to find opportunities that match your training needs. Also consult with The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts (FUMMWA) and other organizations that offer training opportunities.
People and Agencies That Can Help
- Your pastor.
- People in your congregation and community interested in music in general and church music specifically.
- Other church music directors and musicians in your area.
- The United Methodist Discipleship Ministries' Director of Music Resources' Office, PO Box 340003; Nashville TN 37203-0003; phone: 877-899-2780, ext. 7073; e-mail: [email protected]
- The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts (http://www.fummwa.org/); PO Box 24787; Nashville TN 37202; phone: 800-952-8977; fax: 615-749-6874; e-mail:[email protected]
- INFOSERV (1-800-251-8140), a toll-free direct telephone service for United Methodists, providing current information about resources, programs, and staff services.
Print Resources That Can Help In addition to those listed below and in the latest Cokesbury catalog (phone 800-672-1789;http://www.cokesbury.com), see the resources listed elsewhere on the Discipleship Ministries website.
- The United Methodist Hymnal (and its accompanying supplemental volumes)
- The United Methodist Book of Worship
- The Faith We Sing (Abingdon Press, 2000)
- One Gift, Many Songs
- The United Methodist Music and Worship Planner, Abingdon Press
- Worship Arts, a magazine available from The Fellowship of United Methodists In Music and Worship Arts
- The Church Music Handbook for Pastors and Musicians by N. Lee Orr, Abingdon Press, ISBN 0-687-07853-9
- The Church Musician by Paul Westermeyer. Harper and Row, ISBN 0-06-069331-2