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volume 34 - number 1 2012

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Volume 34 - Number 1



The Body – Broken Vernon Sanders

TM Ministry Spotlight on Stan DeWitt Bob Burroughs



Wounded Church Musicians

Reviews of Anthems Worth Having

Front Page

Select 20



Laura K Rosser




Good Stuff

Palm Sunday

Reviews of New Materials

Mark Lawson





A Church Musician’s Bookshelf : Psalms, Poems, and Spiritual Reflections Annette Bender


Last Page

More Than The Music TM Robert McBain

in this issue

are you a wounded church musician?’ll want to read Laura Rosser’s article one way or a spotlight interview with Stan DeWitt, the Select 20, and a look at the dichotomy of Palm/Passion Sunday... 2012 |



by Vernon Sanders

front page


the body – broken

Once upon a time, it seemed as if everyone went to church. Every church had a choir and an organist, and everyone who attended your church looked and thought a lot like you. But then everything seemed to change, as time kept shifting into the future. For those of us of a certain age, the future was anticipated as a promised land of flying cars, no work to speak of, and peace all around. Remember the 60s? Somehow that wasn’t exactly what we had signed up for. For the church (and society), though, that was just the beginning. Any way you look at it, we have definitely not arrived at a place where there is peace – even in a congregation...forget the world as a whole.

the last decade. What has changed? Can it be that our “me” attitudes have finally gotten tired of battling it out? Well...I think the answer is a bit more complicated than that. I think a lot of those of us of a certain age have certainly retreated from “my way or the highway” positions. I think that music and worship ministries are now staffed entirely differently, and the segmentation, or silo-ing, of job descriptions has allowed everyone to “rule their own turf” to a certain extent. But I also think that the body is in repair. More and more leaders – and congregations – are reining in or working to eliminate toxic behaviors and appetites. There is a

There is a shift from empty calories toward complete protein in the worship diets of many churches The body has been broken. Some say it cannot be repaired (to which some reply “good!”). As musical leaders of the body, we have been broken too. You will find evidence of that by reading Laura Rosser’s article on the facing page. And yet... As much as things have changed, I sense that things are still changing. There are discernable instances of the Great Physician at work in the body – and the leadership of the church. I am hearing much more about “finally landing in a great spot,” and “reconciliation” than I have at any time in TM


shift from empty calories toward complete protein in the worship diets of many churches. More churches are turning away from snake oil sold by salesmen toward the living water of Scripture to make worship decisions. These next few years will be interesting to see if the body can be healed. On a personal level, between the time I am writing this and the time you read it, my own body will be in repair – at least that’s the plan. I am scheduled for a heart procedure in the next little while that, if all goes well, should keep me around for at least 20 more years. I’m looking forward to seeing how the body of the church continues to change, and I believe it will be for the better. fine

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Volume 34 - Number 1 2012 publisher Vernon Sanders editor Bob Burroughs editorial board Christine Anderson Hugh Ballou Wendell Boertje Glenn P. Eernisse Allen Henderson Heather Hood Lloyd Larson Douglas Lawrence David Leestma William Lock Carl M. Peters, II Steve Phifer Paul Satre Pamela Urfer Thomas Vozzella Edwin M. Willmington Paul Leddington Wright John Yarrington computer engraving Geyser Ridge Associates printing coordinator Pete Moceri Creator Magazine PO Box 3538 Pismo Beach, CA 93448 (800) 777-6713 Creator Magazine (ISSN #1045-0815) is published bimonthly by Creator Magazine. U.S. subscription rates are: $32.95 - 1 year, $55.95 - 2 years, $73.95 - 3 years. Foreign subscriptions (sent printed matter – airmail): Canada and Mexico, add $10 per year to above subscription rates. Other foreign countries, add $25 per year to U.S. rates. (All foreign payments should be made by check in U.S. funds drawn on a U.S. bank. Unacceptable payments will be returned). Unsolicited articles cannot be returned. Electronic TM and email submissions are encouraged. Submitted photographs will be returned if a stamped, selfaddressed envelope is included. Article Guidelines are available by request.



Single copy price: $6.00. Back Issues: $6.00, subject to availability. Copyright © 2012 by Creator Magazine. All rights reserved. Printed and distributed in the U.S. by Emerald TM City Graphics, Kent, Washington.


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by Laura K. Rosser


wounded church musicians

In July, 2011, the Methodist Musicians listserv began a brief, disturbing, and ultimately unresolved conversation. A former music director wrote to the list that yet another church music colleague had become unemployed – a plight shared, she reported, by nearly twenty musicians she knew within the past two years. Her message was part lament, part inquiry into why this trend has been happening. Others were quick to join in the discussion. Pastor Mark Gronseth of Wakonda, South Dakota, wrote, “I am one of those musicians who went through three job position terminations. Of the three only one was done in a timely and caring manner. The other two were ‘out of the blue’ not unlike the others that you referred to in your letter.” Ward Gailey, who holds positions as a

why are church musicians at risk? college and church music director in Covington, Georgia, added: “Wow, does this all hit home! Fact is, many pastors and congregants fail to understand the artistic mentality. It is so easy to scapegoat the musician. And, just when I thought I had figured it out why I lost a couple of jobs in an earlier life, I lost the church job of my dreams three years ago. It was devastating to me, but even more so to my wife who totally invested herself in the church for nearly 7 years.” Only weeks earlier, in his July 5 weekly email, Dr. Paul Clark, Jr., Director of Music and Worship for the Tennessee Baptist Convention, reported anonymous church musicians’ responses to the question, “What aspect of your ministry through music and worship leadership gives you the greatest challenge while striving for Kingdom accomplishment?”

For those who lead worship! has resources and ideas to help you do worship ministry better 2012 |


One person’s biggest challenge was, “My pastor does not seem to think I am really a minister. He asks me to do certain songs he likes or thinks the congregation will like, but I want music to be much more than something to appease him or the people. I don’t know how to get his attention without risking my position or creating a bigger problem with him.” An answer to the question of “what worship leaders wish their pastors knew about them and their ministry” revealed heavy emotional and financial burdens:

“[I w]ish he knew that I am juggling multiple jobs just like him. I am a volunteer Music Minister and work a full time job outside of what appears to be a full time job keeping up with musicians, this week’s PowerPoint, teaching Sunday School and Wednesday night classes, VBS, the latest church computer issue, and trying to manage family life as a mother of school age kids. Due to the economy, I am also having to look for a part-time job. No wonder so many Ministers’ families are falling apart.”  In a follow up email, Clark shared his concern that “the replies I received reveal the very epidemic that I feel is taking place in so many of our church situations.” This problem is not confined to church musicians in the United States. An anonymously authored blurb in the August 24, 2002, Economist described the state of affairs in Britain: “Church music, it seems, is becoming a hazardous profession. In the last few years, several other leading organists have been sacked or suspended from their posts; many more have moved abroad.... Many local organists go unpaid, despite the high cost of lessons and music and the hours of practice they put in.... All this is hardly music to the ears of young musicians considering a career in the church; morale, says Simon Lindley, president of the TM


Royal College of Organists, is running dangerously low.” Creator magazine publisher Vern Sanders recalled a conversation in the early 1990s when the transitions facing church musicians were first recognized as a potentially significant problem. In response to the Methodist Musicians discussion, he wrote, in a blog post called Funny How Time Slips Away: “I was one of the founding partners of the Sing! family of newsletters [and] At least once a year the four of us would go on a retreat, at which a lot of extraordinary conversations took place.... [O]ne of the guys said something like this: ‘Face it guys, ‘traditional’ ‘church’ over. If churches don’t adapt to the new reality [meaning worship teams] their churches won’t survive. It is going to get ugly over the next 10 years for church musicians.’ That time has arrived, and it...has been brutal.... I don’t mean just the terminations, and the resulting loss of good, competent, caring, called church musicians. I mean the manner in which the transition has taken place. Every day my email box or my voice mail brings another tale of insensitivity and rudeness (at the would you like to get a certified letter while you are on vacation informing you that you shouldn’t come back to work?) on the part of churches (and pastoral staff).” In a 1998 Reformed Worship article entitled The Care and Keeping of Church Musicians: It Takes Money and a Lot More, organist Gregory Crowell warned that: “[i]n its present state of flux and even rebirth, church music stands at a fragile juncture, and those who lead congregations in musical praise are increasingly becoming the victims of burnout or disappointment.” Based upon my own fifteen years in the church music world and what I have heard from my colleagues’ experience, this development does not seem to be improving. I believe that a combination of factors – the personality traits that

church musicians often carry both as individuals and in their church staff role; the changing landscape of the music profession, the Church and its denominations, and the particular interdisciplinary niche of church music; and economic struggles as past systems are becoming unsustainable – are creating a “perfect storm” for church musicians. You can find many books and articles about church “worship wars,” as well as theological expositions about what qualifies as good worship music, but there is a marked deficit in resources that deal directly with what we might call “personnel and personality issues” of church musicians. This article is an attempt to both expand the conversation about why these problems are occurring and distill several practical solutions for addressing and tending – or, better yet, helping prevent – some of church musicians’ unique wounds.

Why Are Church Musicians Particularly Vulnerable? In our current economy’s high unemployment climate, my intent is not to suggest that church musicians are the only persons struggling with issues of vocational employment, but rather to highlight particular features of their situation whose cumulative effect is often overlooked or underestimated. Some of these features include facets of the creative personality, church institutional structures, a changing worship context, and a changing economic context. creative personality

While it is important to avoid the temptation to dichotomize people into “creative” versus “noncreative” categories, psychological research bears out the common-sense assumption that highly creative folks – who probably constitute the majority of church musicians – are indeed wired a little differently. A literature review by creativity researcher Gregory J. Feist concludes that “[c]reative people in art



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I believe a combination of factors are creating a “perfect storm” for church musicians. and science tend to be [more] open to new experiences, less conventional and less conscientious, more self-confident, self-accepting, driven, ambitious, dominant, hostile, and impulsive.” Additionally, creative artists (as contrasted with scientists) “are more affective [and] emotionally unstable, as well as less socialized and accepting of group norms.” As with any temperament, there are both assets and liabilities. Fascinating research by the late Michael A. Thalbourne and associates reveals a common factor underlying such traits as creativity, absorption, hyperaesthesia (extreme sensitivity to sensory data), fantasy proneness, magical ideation, and mystical experience – as well as mania and probably depression. High scores on this factor, which they call

“transliminality,” are correlated with “abstractedness” and “openness to change,” whereas less transliminal people are associated with “toughmindedness,” “self-control,” and “rule-consciousness.” A less jargon-laden depiction of what transliminality means may be found in Pastor David Merkel’s description of magical, musical moments: “I’m speaking of the occasions when everyone feels and senses that special something. The magical, moving, spiritual moments that occur without forethought or planning; simply and suddenly realizing in the moment that this is special. I don’t believe those times are without explanation, though finding the words to express them seems nearly impossible.”

While most people can experience and appreciate the occasional “magical, musical moment,” not everyone can identify with the type of personality that explores those transcendental planes on a regular basis, whose worldview and modus operandi are shaped by levels of creative and perhaps spiritual access that may not be regularly evident to others. It seems apparent that many of the same qualities that make church musicians gifted at their calling and drawn to their profession also render them particularly vulnerable to organizational dysfunction. To borrow a concept from family systems theory, it is easy for someone who is emotionally sensitive, able to empathize with a variety of perspectives, and more creative than linear in their thinking to be scapegoated, or 2012 |


Laura K. Rosser is

a pianist, writer, PhD student, and pastoral psychotherapist.

Musicians are frequently the very people with the capacity to grasp what is going wrong in a church situation... targeted as the “identified problem person” when an organization is unhealthy. The double-edged sword is that while musicians are frequently the very people with the capacity to grasp what is going wrong in a church situation, it is extremely difficult (though not impossible) to change a system from the inside, and from a position near the

bottom of the hierarchy. Thus, many musicians try to stay and persevere and help, rather than go ahead and leave when it is clear their days are numbered – leading to the “forced resignation” or “phase-out” many of us have faced. So the role of “scapegoat” can, at times, be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

for further reading • The Minister’s Role in Church Music (Cecil J Riney) Sep/Oct 79 • Who Sets the “Tempo” in Music Ministry? (Don G Fontana) Feb/Mar 88 • Surviving the Body Blows (Philip L Mitchell) May/Jun 89 • Working Relationships (Mark Deakins) Mar/Apr 91 • Survival Tactics (Keith Huttenlocker) Mar/Apr 91 • Dealing with Criticism: A Family Systems Approach (Doug Haney) Sep/Oct 94 • Picking Your Battles (Danny VonKanel) Mar/Apr 02 • Identifying Tensions Over Musical Style (Henry Schellenberg) Jul/Aug 04 • Creating and Sustaining Healthy Teams on a Church Staff (Hugh Ballou Nov/Dec 06 • Who’s On First? Four Models of Worship Ministry (Vernon Sanders) Mar/Apr 08 • Think in Threes: Triangles and Leadership (Margaret Marcuson) May/Jun 09 You can find many of these articles and/or buy the Leadership Articles Compliation CD for just $24.95 at All articles are available by calling 800-777-6713.


volume 34 - number 1 |

We have all known people, artists or not, whose anticipation of exclusion or marginalization put them on the defensive and resulted in their receiving the very behavior they had feared. Yet it is also possible that scapegoating, at times, is an inevitable result of another kind of prophecy – the critical truth-telling that creative artists often embody. Father Samuel Torvend of Pacific Lutheran University believes that beyond the person of the church musician, the role of church music itself is identified with the prophetic: “Assembly song, I would argue, is inextricably bound up with the implicit criticism of any hierarchy, religious, artistic, or political, that attempts to marginalize or silence the voice of the many.” Perhaps, then, it is not surprising that congregational (or clergy) resistance against a prophetic critique of hierarchy is sometimes projected onto the musician who most directly embodies this role. An additional struggle of creatives in ministry involves issues of performance, modesty, and ego. Church musicians

– “‘Both the farmer and the cowhand by the requirements and expectations of working within the structures of a share the same turf,” but with the typical church environment. Music farmer nurturing the pastureland while the cowhand drives the cows to eat it. ministry requires a degree of flexibility in hours and methods that does not fit “Too often,” Morgan concludes, “as the into a standard forty-hour workweek leaders responsible for deciding what is and can be difficult to measure, predict, good in worship, we are not very good or control. To some extent – particularly friends.” if their jobs involve composing music Either or both parties can be at fault, or creating other original work – church In a blog entry entitled Music: The but pastor-musician relationships are not musicians are at the mercy of inspiraThorn in My Flesh, David Merkel names tion, just as are pastors in crafting their aided by prior suspicions or dictatorial “the pain that comes when musical attitudes, whether these are expressed sermons, though both processes also egos fight for their own way, sometimes depend upon regular discipline. explicitly or behind the scenes. Paul seeking to make themselves look better. Westermeyer, in his book The Church It comes with a still-lingering ache over When musicians work part-time or are Musician, explains the “rules”: the talented musicians who have felt paid by the hour, this modus ope“[I]n the Anglican church, according to randi can present special challenges. (I threatened by my music, though I am intentional in the hope of avoiding such remember once contemplating whether canon law, the priest has authority over the church musician. Anglicans (and feelings in others. It comes when one designing dialogue for a Christmas Episcopalians in the United States) are musician claims to be better than anpageant while driving in my car should honest about this. In other communions other capable musician. It comes in the constitute a billable hour!) the same reality may apply but never worship and music wars of church that be stated. Or worse, under the guise Unless a music director is particularly cause division in Christ’s body, ripping of equality – in the sense that there fortunate, pastors and congregations and tearing at Christ as if we weren’t are presumably no distinctions about may not understand or appreciate done crucifying him yet. It comes in authority at all, a posture of control the complexity of how music “hapbattles between musical genres.” may be denied publicly but practiced pens” – for instance, the time it takes privately. So, for example, one of my Earlier in his life, Merkel faced a to arrange an eight-part choral anthem MSM students told us that her Lutheran for a volunteer choir of twenty, or the struggle common to church musicians pastor said: ‘Never give a church musilearning curve of choosing and tweak– how to respond to compliments: “I ing lead sheets for a praise band whose cian any power.’ That is the conviction could play at home for myself, but had attendance (and thus instrumentation) of many clergy persons whether they very little interest in claiming and sharor their communions say it in public or varies from week to week. This disconing my music in public settings. On... not.” nect is especially problematic when it occasions in which I was asked to play occurs between the church musician piano for worship, I would outwardly Westermeyer, a professor of church and the pastor, a situation which agree; but any expression of gratitude music at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, unfortunately is all too common. toward me was answered with, “It’s not believes that there is wisdom in priests me, it’s God. Go thank God.” In one of In his blog entry Unspoken Expectaand pastors holding authority, but that those moments, a seminary professor tions, Paul Clark, Jr., says that “the ideally, “the central issue here is not and now friend turned to me to ask, relationship between senior pastor power, but the gospel itself and the “When you finish playing a song, why and worship pastor/minister of music is protection of everybody’s faith and do you let go of it and drop it as if you especially challenging because of the freedom on the community of grace.” want nothing to do with it?” I had no close proximity of the responsibilities of He commends the Quaker model in idea others could see it..... He helped which “nobody is to force an agenda me realize that what I was doing was my each and the marked differences that ” tend to attract persons to those roles. on anybody else, but...bold honesty on way of saying, “Don’t blame me, blame everyone’s part, with an equal willingGod.” In doing so, I denied anyone’s Often the very opportunity to offer a gift to me – the gift of thanks. Maybe more significantly, self-control, ruleconsciousness, and ��������������� I erected a curtain between God and conscientiousness of us.” ������������������ which many creative ����������� artists have deficits, Navigating these subtle attitudes of ������������������������������ are some of the the heart may appear trivial from the ������������������������������������ outside, but for creatively and spiritually qualities most highly ������������������������������������������� valued by church sensitive individuals, it often involves ����������������������������������� pastors. Or, to borrow levels of introspection and self-scrutiny ���������������������������������� a metaphor from that require time and wise counsel to ����������������������������������������� Michael Morgan’s resolve. ������������������������������������ colorful article The ������������������������������������������ church institutional structures Farmer and the Cowhand [Should Be ����������������������������� Friends], whose title The gifts and shadow side of the cre����������������������� is from a song in the ative personality are often exacerbated ��������������������������������������� musical Oklahoma are often caught between two competing value systems: an ideal of artistic performance versus an ideal of authentic worship; a celebrity culture that elevates artists to icons versus a church culture that stresses humble service; the desire to shine in the limelight versus the desire to reflect one’s glory back to God.

2012 |


Never give a church musician any power is the conviction of many clergy

ness to hear others, will lead to a common vision that emerges from forthright dialogue and honest waiting on the Spirit of God.” Unfortunately, according to Robin L. D. Rees’ qualitative research of 545 clergy and organists throughout the Diocese of Oxford, England, published in 1993, Westermeyer’s ideal is far from reality on the ground. Rees reports, “Perhaps the most depressing find of my survey was that there appeared to be little common ground between clergy and music directors. The clergy had little knowledge of, or ability in, music..., whilst the directors’ knowledge of theology was very limited. Moreover, there seemed to be little desire to develop this common ground, with little interest in either church-related music associations or discussion groups.” Vern Sanders suspects part of the problem is that “[p]astors are being taught to be a ‘CEO’” – a model in which paradoxically, people do and don’t matter. That is, “people do matter because ‘success,’ which usually ‘means more people at worship,’ can move a pastor/CEO up the ladder to a larger or more prominent church. At the same time, people don’t matter because to a CEO, staff is interchangeable: they are employees, not individual people. If a CEO doesn’t like the way someone is doing their job..., it is a CEO’s prerogative to replace that person... [and] taking a page from large corporations and academia, you


volume 34 - number 1 |

replace a full time person with a part time person so that you don’t have to pay benefits. Then you give that part time person the same job description, plus a little more...” It also appears that musicians often are opting out (or being kept out) of a potential source of leverage by not participating in church governing bodies. According to Rees’ study, “At only one church in three was the musical director a member of the PCC [parochial church council]; at only one in four churches was there a working group for worship, and in only one in ten a working group for music.” changing worship context

The past few decades have brought a tremendous shift in the nature of what church music ministry entails. Multiple worship services and multiple musical styles are now common, if not the norm. Along with this expansion has come a parallel increase in tasks and responsibilities, as well as an increase in the level of versatility needed to be a successful church musician. As Mark Gronseth puts it, “It is sad because for many of the church musicians these days you need to be able to wear many hats and have knowledge and skills in a number of musical styles and genres. Sadly, there isn’t a lot that has been addressed by [the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts]

or the [American Guild of Organists] concerning this direction in church music.” Many traditionally trained church musicians find themselves torn between their theological and aesthetic understanding of what constitutes quality, and the expectation that they will provide or program music that they perceive as being too basic, repetitive, or secular – which means that musicians who value stylistic diversity as well as sound theology have a heavy amount of homework to do in making their musical selections. Indeed, as music and liturgy professor Carol Doran suggests, church musicians have evolved over the years from “hymn players to pastoral musicians.” It is no longer enough to be a competent accompanist or conductor. Citing Don Hustad, Professor Barry Liesch of Biola University points out that these days, “[t]he ideal music director is (1) a musician, (2) an administrator, (3) an educator, and (4) a pastor. Head musicians, however, can’t be expected to have the skill (or inclination!) to fulfill each of these roles equally well.” Adding to the sense of overwhelm are rapid changes in technology whose implementation requires more time and self-education. As Sanders describes, “What is different now is that the Internet has made every previous iteration of ‘tradition’ available for study, and potential emulation.” This accessibility

can be a great blessing, yet also necessitates knowledge of non-musical areas such as copyright licensing, and, in the case of contemporary worship, audio engineering and PowerPoint prowess. One result is that church musicians’ schedules can become so packed that they are increasingly isolated from one another. Sanders continues, “I can’t tell you how many of my colleagues tell me they don’t even know the names of their counterparts at the church down the street. Insularity has become so wide-spread that if it weren’t voluntary, you’d think that the staff were low-risk inmates in a prison campus with a cross on the top of the highest building.” This lack of professional (and too often, also personal) friendships leaves church musicians more vulnerable to burnout, as well as decreasing the give-and-take that comes from the exchange of energy and ideas. changing economic context

Beyond factors of personality, institutional structure, and an increasingly complex job description, church musicians’ present struggles can be attributed in part to economics. Music programs and staff are often viewed as less essential to the church’s mission than, say, discipleship or outreach, and are thus more “expendable” under financial duress. There may not be a direct problem or personality clash; rather, churches must cut back somewhere and may feel they have little choice. Mark Gronseth, the South Dakota pastor cited earlier, reports, “I am one of those musicians who went through three job position terminations. Of the three only one was done in a timely and caring manner. The other two were “out of the blue”... I was told in each case that there was a financial crisis which meant eliminating

a full time position only to replace me with 2-3 other part time, no benefit positions.” In other situations where the choice is to take a pay cut or assume additional responsibilities (or both) or leave, it is not uncommon for musicians – like pastors – to keep on serving out of a sense of love for God, their vocation, and their congregation. The problem with this admirable attitude is that it is usually financially unsustainable over the long run unless a staff member is independently wealthy, has another well-paying job, or is married or partnered with someone who does. It is also emotionally unsustainable, in Sanders’ opinion: “Between resource scarcity and cultural expectation, every church staff member these days must be more productive (often without a raise in pay...over many years...). More responsibility is being heaped upon all staff members...

In practice this means that staff have little time for family (that should be the first red flag), and less time to pastor those involved in their ministry. Program results (i.e. growth...) are everything. You want to talk to colleagues? Go to a conference during your your expense.” This situation is unhealthy not only for church staff members, but for churches. As Gregory Crowell explains, “While many musicians may struggle internally to see themselves as professionals, very few question their commitment to their job. However, the church often fails to express its commitment to the musician and to the music program [which] leads far too often to turbulence in the music program.” Gifted musicians often draw a mixture of appreciation, envy, and mystification: they don’t work normal hours or produce something that can easily be

quantified, and in a culture where fewer congregants are willing to participate in the commitments required for musical excellence – at the same time as technology is rendering “creative” tools more accessible to the nonspecialist – church music staffs are increasingly viewed as an “ideal” asset or perquisite, but one which can be sacrificed in a time of economic scarcity. Add this notion to the misunderstandings, conflicts, and triangulation that all too often occur between pastors and musicians, not to mention the risks of truth-telling experienced by musicians in a position of financial vulnerability, and the easy answer to a muddle of spiritual, relational, and organizational dis-ease seems to be, “sack the musician.” That is, if he or she was being paid in the first place. For some churches (and individuals), it is still debatable whether church musicians should be paid, much less paid competitively. An article by Rev. Larry D. Ellis on the website <worshipandchurchmusic. com> addresses this question; different churches’ answers depend upon their size, degree of emphasis on music, theology of spiritual gifts, and attitudes toward musicians. For church musicians who are paid, there is often a large discrepancy between their actual salaries and benefits and the levels recommended by professional organizations such as the American Guild of Organists and the Presbyterian Association of Musicians. A 1996 survey cited by Crowell of 120 church musicians representing twelve denominations revealed that 59 of them earned less than $5000 annually, and only four respondents (0.033%) were paid more than $30,000. Over half of the musicians received no benefits. Granted, this survey did not differentiate between full- and part-time employees, but as a comparison, the

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too are church musicians. I suggest that musicians’ loads can be greatly lightened by clarifying expectations upfront, strengthening communication (especially with pastors), improving educational preparation, and utilizing (and expanding) professional resources and vocational support. Music directors themselves, as well as other ministers, professors, and congregants who care about them, each have a role to play in this process. clarify expectations

Many headaches and heartaches can be avoided by taking the time to discern what is being asked (personally and spiritually as well as professionally), and whether it is an authentic match with what this particular person can provide. In addition to logistical issues (responsibilities, teaching privileges, absence policy, and so forth) that must be ironed out, it is also important, according to Ellis, to think through matters such as whether worship “on the ground” at this church actually is as described, what a typical year’s specific music budget looks like, and how relationally involved the musician will be with the life and ministry of the church as a whole. AGO recommendations at that time were for a full-time base salary (i.e., excluding benefits) of $24,759 to $53,461, depending upon credentials and experience; the levels suggested for a quarter-time position of ten hours per week ranged from $6975 to $15,419 per year.

What Can Be Done? As we have seen, the track record of the church’s response to music and church musicians has not always been so good. Westermeyer sees four typical patterns that occur: church musicians are • attacked • manipulated • sabotaged and betrayed • ignored. I would add a category for “fired” or “forced to resign.” He suggests that,

when facing conflict, musicians first examine themselves, “put the best possible construction on things,” and be honest. “Resignation from your position as a musician,” he says, “is also possible. The question is how to find the least evil option, given the alternatives presented to you in your time and place.” While maintaining this perspective under duress is probably helpful, from the standpoint of pastoral care, it is hardly enough. If pastoral care involves healing, sustaining, guiding, and reconciling persons facing troubles that involve ultimate meanings and concerns, then congregations and their leaders carry an obligation to ensure that their ministry does not exclude their own musicians. Just as pastors are human beings whose ministerial calling coexists with personal needs and stresses, so

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There is no single “right” answer to any of these questions, but clearly someone who is expecting an atmosphere of intimate spiritual nurture might not be the best fit for a large congregation whose staff members only interact faceto-face in a weekly delegation-filled meeting. Since not all music directors are equally skilled at musicianship, administration, education, and pastoring, Barry Liesch suggests that churches discern where strengths and deficits lie and then surround their musician with people who can address weaknesses that become evident. Clarifying expectations is not just a task for the beginning of someone’s tenure, however, but rather an ongoing process that deserves regular revisiting as people, churches, and situations evolve. strengthen communication

A related matter to clear employment expectations is clear communication with the people upon whom the musician is most interdependent. In most churches, this means the pastor. By far, the second most widely addressed

topic in my research on church musicians (after “the worship wars”) involves the musician-pastor relationship, which can make or break the experience of either party. Liesch maintains that it is of crucial importance to the entire church. Yet, Rees’ survey revealed that “[i]n over a third of the churches the time per year spent in discussion between the priest-in-charge and the musical director was an hour or less.” This disconnect can result in deep wounds. Here are some more answers given to Paul Clark’s question of “what worship leaders wish their pastors knew about them and their ministry”:

I wish my pastor saw me as a partner. I really don’t know how he thinks of me. His communication is limited to instructions. Our conversations are short and have little sense that he values me more than a hired musician.  I am left with the impression that I am of little value. Even though our choir and musicians share good relationships with my family and me, I feel no real sense of security when I am around the pastor.

Just because people in the church express affirmation to me does not need to present a threat to my pastor. I am very loyal and supportive, but get the feeling he is jealous of my support in the congregation. My pastor needs to know or acknowledge that we have different personalities and that is ok. I can help him keep from making certain mistakes and I am sure the reverse is true, but we need to communicate for that to be the case. I love the Lord, the church, the people, and the pastor and other staff. I have been to college, seminary, and continually read everything I can about worship and use of music in worship. In staff meetings and at other times the pastor gives me directions as if I know little or nothing about the church or worship. I feel belittled, often overlooked, and generally as if my education and service as a minister are unappreciated. These responses confirm Liesch’s perception that most musicians do not function comfortably under an

authoritarian leader: “Lyle E. Schaller, church consultant, believes [most] desire a warm, egalitarian partnership with the senior pastor, perhaps more so than do other staff members.” Liesch advises pastors not to take musicians’ different style personally. He suggests that pastors brainstorm together with musicians on worship plans, give them theologically-based “compliments that count,” make sure that volunteers’ needs are met, go the extra mile to ensure communication with part-time staff, and resist the temptation to look for “a full-time ‘miracle worker,’” instead focusing on building a program with different musicians of complementary gifts and strengths. Likewise, musicians might learn not to take some pastors’ more regimented style personally, seek to convey sincere appreciation for their leadership, and accept that no one can manage spiritual or organizational authority perfectly. Rev. Dr. Frank C. Senn, a Lutheran pastor in Illinois, states that beyond

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2012 |


personal effects of the relationship, “the partnership will work best if both pastor and musician are regarded as holding ministerial offices in the church that bind them together on a ministry team.” Musicians’ status as to ecclesiastical office has shifted back and forth throughout church history. By the fifth century the schola cantorum (“school of singers” were considered to be among the ranks of the lower clergy. By the time of Bach in the 1700s, receiving the office of cantor required passing a rigorous theological examination, but gradually since then there has been a diminishing sense that the church musician holds an ecclesiastical office. Instead the church musician is seen as a charismatic leader rather than an ecclesiastical officer which can be problematic. Theologically, a pastor-musician partnership is ideal. Where backgrounds are different, connectivity needs repair, or conversation has been lacking, Liesch suggests open-ended dialogue: “Pastors could ask, ‘What is it like to be an artist? What are the pressures of being a musician?’ Musicians could ask, ‘What is it like to be a pastor? What are your pressures?’” better educational preparation

Another component of improving church musicians’ effectiveness and preparing them for vocational challenges is making sure that their educational credentialing process is in line with the real-world jobs they will be fulfilling. There is widespread agreement that, unfortunately, this is often not the case. Michael Morgan of Columbia Theological Seminary writes in the Journal for Preachers, “I thought back on my graduate courses that should have helped me be a better colleague to you as ministers. There were none! It was as though whoever designed the curriculum for organ majors never even considered that 99.9 per cent of us would be playing in churches and leading worship with ministers.”

Similarly, many priests in Rees’ survey expressed “ the quantity and/or quality of their music training at theological college.” As Paul Westermeyer summarizes, “The potentials for conflict are clear. The clergy is trained to think. The cantor is trained to perform. The clergy, unless she or he has attended one of a few rare seminaries, probably has had little or no musical training and, strange as it may seem, probably not much training in worship either. The musician has probably had little or no theological training. Because he or she has more ecumenical opportunities than does the pastor, the musician may have a better feel for worship through experience and instinct, but that feel is usually inchoate and therefore not sufficiently formulated to be communicable in an articulate way to the pastor.” Edward Foley, Capuchin, of the Catholic Theological Union, argues that the ecclesial and musical training of church musicians should include studies in both practical theology (the mutual, critical correlation of practice and theory) and ethnomusicology (the development of a deeper understanding of the function of music in ritual). In addition, learning to articulate the importance of music ministry and the resources needed to carry it out is both a matter of practicality, and good stewardship. Church music directors need to acquire basic organizational and business skills so that they can negotiate both for themselves and their music programs. In her address at the 2005 Presbyterian Association of Musicians (PAM) Professionals’ Conference, organist Sue MitchellWallace encouraged her colleagues this way: “Instead of starting a new choir or musical ensemble on impulse because there is not currently one in place, make some preparations, do some research and planning. Then, put together a presentation to share with staff, the music committee, and the session. In your proposal, outline your vision, identify who will benefit, what

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resources and materials are needed, the schedule, the budget, the cost per person, and what you feel your services are worth in this endeavor. How different that is from starting the choir (thereby modifying your job description) without any input from staff, session, or personnel committee: This sets up a potential doormat mentality.” professional support

Given that a church musician works in an environment of both spiritual and financial nurture, it is imperative that musicians be given access to the same resources and protection by the same clauses that many denominations have in place to support pastors. In response to the Methodist Musicians discussion mentioned above, music director Greg Gray of Braselton, Georgia, wrote: “Language was changed [in the United Methodist] Book of Discipline. In 2004 if a full-time lay staff person’s employment was called into question, that person had to be notified before the SPR [Staff-Parish Relations Committee] met. This language was removed from the 2008 version; so, you may be fired without being notified that this was happening.“ While advocating for all church employees to be treated with decency in personnel matters is an important step, it is inadequate only to address such situations when they have escalated to the point where termination is being considered. Professional organizations and denominational equivalents need to use their leverage to address directly the concerns expressed in this article – and, of course, church musicians must take initiative to reach out and join these organizations in the first place. Meanwhile, I encourage persons in church music leadership positions that are functioning successfully to support and advocate for their colleagues. After receiving so many testimonies from wounded church musicians, Paul Clark was moved to begin organizing a response: “I am going to speak with those who work more directly with senior pastors in other capacities here at TBC [Tennessee Baptist Convention] to see about partnering on conferencing in some of these areas. It is concerning to me that I hear often about pastors who have problems with overextending themselves, yet cannot delegate responsibility. Those characteristics

together with your responses strongly imply to my mind trust issues that need to be addressed....our ministry partners – Union University, Carson Newman, Lifeway, and the seminaries – are aware of these same challenges and address them to some extent from their vantage point. In fact, I have been working with some of these to facilitate pilot projects that would call pastors and worship leaders to concentrated times of retreat and focus together.” Clark’s last point is important: churches, ministers, and support organizations need to offer genuine pastoral care to their musicians, who are often carrying significant inner pain. Liesch elaborates: “This story of burnout and hurt feelings not at all uncommon as I talk to church musicians serving in churches of all sizes.....I hear of musicians who feel used...for their gifts – but not appreciated as persons. Like thoroughbreds, they run hard but feel unconnected. Or like underpaid hired hands leading choirs or teams, they take the brunt of criticism, working on budgets allowing little creativity. Or like sweatshop workers, they grind out the same tunes at the same location, at the same time, week after week. Some feel as triflers or distant cousins to the really important ministry going on – the bearers of low-level entertainment. Despite the pervasiveness of the difficulties and dysfunction that many church musicians are currently facing, there are also signs of hope and healing. Sanders expresses, “I’m heartened by the fact that I’m beginning to hear, on a fairly regular basis, of churches that have decided to opt out of the numbers chase. Instead they are taking a step back, evaluating the gift/skill set of their staff, their natural congregational demographic profile, and they’ve chosen to concentrate on doing what they do well even better....In the process, these churches are actually hiring to need (not hipness), spending time and money on staff development (instead of on assimilating new staff), and narrowing job descriptions to allow staff to do what they do best....I’m heartened by the trend that churches are now seeking out “traditional” church musicians to fill, in part, a mentoring role to the people who have replaced them. It turns out that even if you speak the same jargon as the pastor, yet don’t know much about theology, or music, you have limitations as a staff member. The mentoring role is putting people back

to work, doing what they are passionate about.” Moreover, Westermeyer reminds us, “There are many congregations where pastor, people, and cantor get along well, work together, sing the Lord’s song, and live together as the community of grace they are called to be. We do not hear about them because they go about their business quietly, without glitz, and because their life together gives the media nothing to report.” It sounds like Ward Gailey, one of the musicians cited above who has suffered several job losses, has found one of these churches: “My wife is just now returning to church, again assisting me with the choir and playing her flute too, at a church that is half the size of the previous. The good news, so far, [is]the people are great and I have experienced healing of my spirit.  There is also no stress in the current post. Money truly is not everything, because I am making less than half what I made earlier. 

My current church is unusual in that it wants to retain its traditional character. That fits me to a “t,” although I do like to innovate too.  I am also excited about our new pastor who may turn out to be a soul mate.” As we have seen, the musicians who serve our congregations are in a position of vulnerability, with issues of temperament, role, worship, and economy contributing to difficulties maintaining employment that is spiritually fulfilling and financially sustainable. But there are also persons on both sides of the choir loft who value their gifts and are committed to changing these trends. By carefully conveying mutual expectations, improving pastor-musician communication, redesigning church music curricula, and providing measures of professional protection and support, we can help change a church culture too often marked by scapegoating musicians into one recognized by its respect for diversity, appreciation of creativity, and commitment to sustaining its artists.



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2012 |


by Mark Lawson


palm Sunday

Mark Lawson is active as a clinician, writer and conductor in addition to his duties as President of MorningStar Music.

The Sunday of Passion: A Closer Look Palm Sunday has often been called the most “schizophrenic” day in the Church year. The triumphal entry followed by confronting the truth of the crucifixion takes believers from one extreme to the other. A quick look around at the way different denominations identify this particular Sunday demonstrates that there is not a common name for this Sunday. Lutherans call it “Palm Sunday/Passion Sunday” or “The Sunday of the Passion/Palm Sunday.” The Revised Common Lectionary website hosted by Vanderbilt University provides resources for both a “Liturgy of the Passion” as well as a “Liturgy of the Palms.” Roman Catholics refer to it as “Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion.”

History Much of the original history of Palm Sunday seems to come from ceremonies of re-enactment that actually took place outside the Church walls. The first accounts seem to come from late in the fourth century in Jerusalem when

this issue author contact Mark Lawson ~ Robert McBain ~ Laura K Rosser~


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Christians would gather at the Mount of Olives on the Sunday when Holy Week began. The Palm Sunday parade would begin late in the afternoon with the reading of the Gospel account, followed by a procession from the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem. Accounts of this procession being incorporated into worship do not occur until much later.

Passion Sunday or Palm Sunday When discussing this Sunday with practicing Church Musicians, it is obvious there are many different traditions. In some Churches the Palm Sunday procession begins outside and the entire congregation processes into the Church while singing an entrance hymn such as All Glory Laud and Honor or Hosanna, Loud Hosanna. Children are often a part of the Palm Sunday procession which is reflected in the myriad of different anthems that are available from various publishers that are set for Children and Adults. In many liturgical traditions there are two Gospel readings for the day. The first one is a reading describing the events surrounding the grand procession, and the second is the reading of the Passion story. The tension in planning this service comes in how much time is given to either side of this story.

Some Churches spend the majority of the time on the triumphal entry and barely refer to the Passion story, holding and reference to the Passion until Good Friday. Others turn quickly from the Procession to the Passion, giving most of the attention to the story of the Suffering Servant. There is one prominent theory that surfaces on a frequent basis when discussing Palm Sunday, that Churches have given more attention to the Passion side of the day because of low attendance in the Holy Week services that are offered. When following up on this theory, it is often pointed out that the celebration of the Passion is much older and throughout history has been more prominent that the Palm Sunday part of the celebration. What seems to be a newer emphasis on the Passion readings may actually be because some Churches are giving more emphasis to the lectionary readings than they have in the past.

Creating Meaning Helping the congregation understand the tension in this day is one of the

challenging tasks that a worship leader faces. In his provocative book Free in Obedience, William Stringfellow points out that many Churches allow Palm Sunday to take the place of Easter and avoid any talk of the cross. Stringfellow says that “Palm Sunday is no day of triumph; for Christians it is a day of profound humiliation.” The procession leads us not to a place of triumph, but to a cross. It is only when struggling with the events of the cross that we can experience the true meaning of the resurrection.

Suggestions For The Worship Leader So, how should we approach this day and what is the proper balance? There is no correct answer to this question, but it is a question that should be on the mind of every worship planner.

Congregational education is a key to making this day meaningful. Helping the congregation to see that the procession leads toward a darker place of struggle is an important part of this day. Using the Church newsletter, worship folder, or social media to explain the complexity of the day can help enrich the worship experience. Looking for anthems, hymns and service music that express both the excitement of the procession, but also help us turn our eyes toward the hard journey ahead can be deeply meaningful. Certainly planned times of reflection and silence to prepare our hearts for the coming week has an appropriate place in the worship service.

the tension in planning this service comes in how much time is given to either side of this story

The appropriate celebration of Palm Sunday/Passion Sunday may just be one of the most important parts of helping believers experience this most meaningful time of the year. fine

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2012 |


by Annette Bender


a church musician’s bookshelf

Annette Bender recently retired from a position she loved – being a school librarian – and is an alto in her church choir.

You want to learn more about how to do your ministry better, but you don’t have the ability to go to seminary. What can you do?

Kidd, Reggie M. With One Voice; Discovering Christ’s Song in Our Worship. Grand Rapids, MI, Baker Books, 2005.

Peterson, Eugene H. Subversive Spirituality. Grand Rapids, MI, Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997.

You can read all about it by assembling a bookshelf of valuable resources. The books on this list form a core collection in the areas of church growth and outreach. They are taken from an extensive collection assembled by a person with a career of more than forty years as a church musician and worship leader, and can be considered classics. Enjoy!

Lamott, Anne. Plan B; Further Thoughts on Faith. New York, Riverhead Books, 2005.

Peterson, Eugene H. Take and Read; Spiritual Reading: an Annotated List. Grand Rapids, MI, Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 1996.

Bell, Martin. Street Singing and Preaching; A Book of New Psalms. Nashville, Abingdon Press, 1991. Cole, Wm, ed. Poems for Seasons and Celebrations. Johannes Troyer, illus. Cleveland, World Publishing Co., 1961.

L’Engle, Madeleine. Walking on Water; Reflections on Faith and Art. Wheaton, IL, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1980. Lewis, C.S. The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses. San Francisco, HarperSanFrancisco, 1980. McLaren, Brian D. A Search for What is Real; Finding Faith. Grand Rapids, MI, Zondervan, 2006. Monda, Antonio. Do You Believe? Conversations on God and Religion. Grand Rapids,

Postema, Don. Space for God; Study and Practice of Spirituality and Prayer. Grand Rapids, MI, CRC Publications, 1983. Quoist, Michel. Prayers. Franklin, WI, Sheed & Ward, 1999. Saliers, Don and Emily Saliers. A Song to Sing, a Life to Live; Reflections on Music as Spiritual Practice. San Francisco, JosseyBass, 2995.

Psalms, Poems, and Spiritual Reflections Evans, Colleen Townsend. Make Me Like You, Lord; the Secret of Growing in the Likeness of Christ. Old Tappan, NJ, Chosen books, 1989. Fischer, Norman. Opening to You; Zen Inspired Translations of the Psalms. New York, Viking Compass, 2002. Housden, Roger, ed. Dancing with Joy; 99 Poems. New York, Harmony Books, 2007.


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MI, Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997. Moore, Thomas. Care of the Soul; a Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life. New York, HarperPerennial, 1992. O’Leary, Daniel J. Year of the Heart; a Spirituality for Lovers. New York, Paulist Press, 1989.

Willard, Dallas. Renovation of the Heart; Putting on the Character of Christ. Colorado Springs, CO, NavPress, 2002. Willard, Dallas. The Divine Conspiracy; Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God. San Francisco. HarperSanFrancisco, 1998. fine

by Bob Burroughs

spot light


Stan DeWitt

Minister of Music Grace First Presbyterian Long Beach, California Creator: We are pleased you are “in the spotlight” for this issue of Creator magazine, Stan. How long have you served this church and what sequence of events led you here? Stan DeWitt: I have been at Grace First since 2003. Prior to that, I had been at First Congregational Church in Long Beach since 1986, first as tenor section leader, then as Youth Music Director, then Assistant Director, and eventually an honorary Composer-in-Residence. By the time I left there, I had four job titles. TM


I should add that I did not seek out a career in church music, but it seemed to seek me out. At First Congregational, I took on those extra duties simply because there was a need for them, and I was able to do it. It was only looking back on it that I felt that God had paved the way for this career in ministry. It’s always so much clearer in hindsight. Creator: Tell our readership a bit about your background – what your music history is, and so forth.

Stan DeWitt: I suppose you could say that. I couldn’t decide after high school whether I wanted to study guitar or voice, so I kind of ended up doing both. My bachelor’s degree was in guitar performance, but I sang with Frank Pooler at Cal State Long Beach, and his passion pulled me into choral music. I was musically schizophrenic from the start, studying classical guitar, playing in a top-40 band on the weekends to make ends meet, then singing Brahms or Bach with the choir the next weekend.



leadership network

creator celebrates every church musician and worship leader...


and the ministries of which they are a part. We regularly turn the spotlight on people involved in ministry in order to help inspire and provide ideas for others. If you would like to recommend someone for our spotlight let us know. 2012 |


I decided to get a Masters in Choral Conducting from there, mostly so I could keep studying with Frank. But that dichotomy between traditional music and contemporary music has been there my entire career. Again looking back on it, it makes perfect sense that the path was being laid for me to land here at Grace First. Creator: Do you have opportunity outside the church to participate in events that are close to your heart, such as song writing? I understand you are a ‘singer/songwriter’ with four CDs to your credit! Stan DeWitt: The church does, and I am very grateful for it. I feel strongly that it is incumbent upon me to keep finding ways to grow and learn so that I can do my job effectively, and Grace has allowed me not only to keep doing the things that I love, like songwriting and performing, but has encouraged me to study new things. Lately, I took a course in Photoshop so I can do more creative graphic work for the church, and I have been taking writing workshops with the aim of being able to more effectively advance the music ministry of the church through my words. Creator: You obviously serve a great church in the greater Los Angeles area. Do you find it difficult to manage a music ministry in this environment? In other words, are your people committed to ministry in what must be a very busy place to live? Stan DeWitt: It is probably the single hardest part of the job, finding ways to encourage people to commit to what we are doing here. The keys for me have been to strive to be an inspiring leader, and to give people as many different entry points into the ministry as possible. As a leader, I really try to encourage people to find their own voice in this ministry; there is no perfect


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performance; there is only doing our best on any given Sunday or at any given rehearsal. We are continually striving to improve ourselves and find new ways to serve. As long as people are doing that, they have my full support and encouragement. As for entry points, I just try to create as many different ways for people to become connected here as possible. Singing for 45 weeks a year with the choir is not possible for every person. But singing for the 4-6 weeks leading up to Easter may be. So we have an “Easter Choir” and “Christmas Choir” option for people who want to sing but can’t do the full commitment – a different entry point. Creator: That’s an excellent idea,. What are the one or two things that keep you active, interested, challenged and excited to be where you are now and challenges you to look to the future? Joshua 3:5 says: “Concentrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.” Do you like to be part of ‘amazing things?’ Stan DeWitt: I love looking for new ways of solving problems, or creating new programs. For instance, we’re going to start a monthly coffeehouse space in our Fellowship Hall for youth and young adults this year, with the aim of giving another ‘entry point’ for that age group. For me, that is when I hear God’s voice the clearest, when we are trying something new or unique. The coffeehouse thing was in the back of my mind for a while. Then we hired a new soprano section leader, who is also a songwriter and plays in a band, and a light went on in my head: “She can administer this thing!” Once that happened, all of the rest of the pieces just fell in place. Creator: How large is your creative arts ministry program?

Stan DeWitt: It’s hard to quantify, but I think it’s fair to say that 20% of our members are either in one of our musical groups or are involved with some arts program here (children/summer camps, Art programs and shows, drama ministry, tech support for music/ worship). Creator: How large is your Chancel Choir? Stan DeWitt: 30 to40 singers. Creator: Do you have a vital and active Youth Choir, Children’s Choir, and Instrumental program? Stan DeWitt: The youth and children’s programs are currently small and we are struggling to find the keys to growth. (Thus, the coffeehouse idea.) But we have music programs for both age groups. We do have a strong instrumental program that includes orchestra, praise band, and handbells. Creator: Do you teach private lessons at the church? Stan DeWitt: I do for a few of our youth, yes. Creator: What else goes on around there hat is noteworthy? Stan DeWitt: We have a concert series that has 8-9 concerts a year and brings in some of the most incredible musicians from all over the world. As a guitarist, I am partial to guitarists, and we have had Doyle Dykes and Laurence Juber, to name a few. We have also hosted David Wilcox and choirs from all over. In April, we are going to host a men’s choir from St. Petersburg, Russia! Creator: Give our readers a bit of information about your family. Tell us about them and are they involved with you in the music ministry of the church? Stan DeWitt: I am married, with no children. My wife, Lynda, is the most amazing woman I have ever met, and you could do an entire interview with me just about her life story, from growing up on a sailboat circumnavigating the globe, to her battle with stage 4 breast cancer. But all you really need to know about her is that she creates joy and love wherever she goes, and puts on two major fundraisers a year for a local organization called Breast Cancer Angels, that gives 100% of the money they raise to women in treatment. One of her events is called Taste at the

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finding ways to encourage people to commit to what we are doing here is probably the single hardest part of my job Point, and is a restaurant “taste” and craft fair held here on campus every year. She does not take a regular part in the music ministry here, although she did sing with the choir when we went on tour to Ireland in 2010. Creator: With all your responsibilities related to being a creative arts minister, how do you manage your time with the family responsibilities and multiple tasks that face you day after day, month after month, year after year? Stan DeWitt: It’s hard, but I think the key is making sure I carve out time for myself, and make sure that our vacations are true getaways! Creator: Serving where you serve, I assume that you must have a wide array of talent from which to draw, including college students and other professional people. How do you balance the use of outsiders while trying to use your

own people? Stan DeWitt: We do have members that teach at CSULB, and our four section leaders are current CSULB students. It is a balancing act, but as I said before, my goal is not perfect performance, but improving ministry. When I hired our section leaders, I did not hire them by looking for “best voices”, but by looking for the people I thought could best by ministry leaders. I expect them to do the same as me: to foster growth and joy in the people with whom they work. Creator: What do you do for “fun” – or just pure enjoyment? Stan DeWitt: I play golf often enough to not be too horrible, and I have a weakness for games: Wii, computer games, etc. Lynda and I love to play dominoes.

Creator: Do you try to attend music conferences to keep yourself updated, fresh and on the cutting edge? Stan DeWitt: I do. I’ve been to Kennon Callahan’s ministry workshops several times, Tuning @ Tahoe and Summer Sing at Zephyr Point, writing workshops at Esalen, songwriting workshops, etc. I also take a composing retreat where I can just to focus on writing new music for the upcoming season. Creator: What advice or tips would you provide our readership concerning the “art of having an effective creative arts ministry?” In other words, how can the church musician/conductor/singer/ educator keep himself/herself sharp and in tune with the craft and art of church music and other art forms? Stan DeWitt: I think the key is personal growth. God calls us to grow in our ministry, not to be stagnant. I would 2012 |


Creator: Name the name/author/ publisher of the last book you have read and would recommend to us? Stan DeWitt: I am reading W.A. Mathieu’s book, Bridge of Waves (Shambhala Pub., 2010), right now, and loving it. He has a great way of getting the reader to completely rethink everything they think they know about music, even a grizzled war-horse like me. Creator: What is the title, composer or arranger, and publisher of the bestreceived anthem, hymn arrangement or spiritual you used in 2011?

suggest that we look inside ourselves and ask, “What do I do really well?” Then flip it, and ask, “What are my weaknesses?” There is benefit to building on your strengths, but it is critical to work on those weaknesses, too. If you don’t play piano well, take lessons. If you are called to lead a contemporary music program and you have no idea what to do, seek out someone who does and ask for help. The worst thing you can do is to say, “I’m not going to change.” God is calling you to do exactly that.

Stan DeWitt: I’ve already mentioned two: Frank Pooler, and my wife, Lynda. It would be hard for me to overstate the impact they have both had on my life. Beyond that, Rev. Dr. Mary Ellen Kilsby, who was the Sr. Pastor at First Congregational. She was a great role model for me in how to be encouraging of the people around me in this ministry. I would also point to my friend, bass player, and sometime songwriting partner, Joe Lamanno, who has taught me more about living your life with joy and honesty than anyone else.

Creator: In your opinion, what are some ingredients that can make a person effective in music ministry?

Creator: If you could do anything you wanted to do at this time in your life, what would it be – or are you doing it now?

Stan DeWitt: Patience and humility. Repeat. Creator: Could you tell our readership the names of a couple of your personal heroes...those who have meant a lot to you in your career, musical and/or spiritual pilgrimage?

Stan DeWitt: I hope to expand into writing more, and do more composing and songwriting. There’s never enough time to do the things you want to do once you find them, as Jim Croce once said.

Stan DeWitt: Nativity by Brendan Lord (Pavane Publishing) was my choir’s favorite anthem last year. We sang it in Advent, and they loved it so much they demanded that we sing it again on Christmas Eve. Creator: Do you have a final thought would you like to leave with our readership? Stan DeWitt: Try anything and everything. Keep an open mind. You never know when that gentleman who is a friend of a friend of your congregation who knows a lot about Taiko drumming might be open to the idea of starting a group at your church, and it might end up being the thing that brings dozens of new people together through music to serve your community in God’s name. I know, because it happened to us. Creator: Thank you, Stan. It has been our pleasure to interview you. May the Father continue to bless and encourage and lead you in your ministry. Stan DeWitt: Thank you, and may the Peace of Christ be with you. Thank you for the great work that Creator is doing! fine

I try to create as many different ways for people to become connected here as possible



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LEADERSHIP! is a great educational tool to enhance your music ministry. Now even better with a fresh focus on Leadership! Sign-up TODAY at to get the best in leadership articles and resources for your ministry.

And announcing the launch of the new Thursday Morning Email! It’s all about Worship! Featuring these writers…

Tom Kraeuter

Marcia McFee

Steven Phifer

Chris Alford

...and YOU!

Thursday Morning Email is a gathering place for sharing creative worship ideas and staying on top of worship resources. Thursday Morning Email starts January 2012 Sign-up TODAY and add your voice from the beginning! Join the discussion at

WORSHIP! Creator Magazine is focused on giving you the BEST information and resources for ministry. Don’t miss ALL that Creator Magazine has for you online at…articles, interviews and reviews of the BEST music from ALL publishers.

Creator Magazine is…


...come join the discussion. 2012 |



select twenty TM



what it is Creator’s Select 20 has always featured the best new church choral music – 20 anthems that will serve most any ministry. We choose by using criteria which include the full spectrum of musical and worship styles. We draw from all publishers, traditions, and styles, regardless of our personal taste. On the actual review (see below to find the detailed reviews) we include a “worship-style bar-graph” to assist you in applying a S20 title to your ministry. The graph, and the “theme” graphic identifiers on the next page, are not used to “pigeonhole” music, but to help our readers in understanding style.

The left edge of the graph would be complex music which is less predictable, often incorporating mixed or no meter, and less familiar tonalities. Texts here focus on poetry or more abstract word painting. The graph’s center represents present-day anthems written in a traditional, non-pop, non-gospel style, with texts that are commonly scripture based and written in second or third person. The right extreme would be pop, gospel, and rock musical styles, commonly including chord symbols in the accompaniment. Texts will be less poetic, more straightforward, and primarily written in first and second person.




catalog number




music sources


editor or arranger


lyricist and/or source


accompaniment information




publisher imprint


copyright year and holder

highly recommended

The following are used at the end of each full review/comment: L End

read the full review online Creator has changed the way we list Select 20 titles. We now list important information for each Select 20 title here in the magazine, with complete reviews on our website at Our general rules for inclusion in each issue through the editorial selection process are as follows:


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• No more than two titles by any composer, arranger, or publisher


length using (S)hort, (M)edium, and (L)ong dynamic level of the ending difficulty using (E)asy, (M)edium, and (D)ifficult



Palm Sunday

All Saints




Good Friday Maundy Thursday




Call to Prayer Prayer Response

Call to Worship

Lord’s Supper

Offering Stewardship




• Copyright dated this year or last year Scan the QR code to the left of each title to be taken directly to the complete review. The graphic gives an indication of the anthem’s primary use in a worship service.

Neither Death nor Life

Crown Him (So Beautiful)

At Jesus’ Knee V: 2 Part Treble #: HMC2249 C: Anne-Marie Hildebrandt A: Piano U: Children • General P: Hinshaw ©: 2011

I Will Rise V: SATB #: CU1010 E: Craig Courtney and Lynda Hasseler A: Piano, opt. String Quartet U: Adult • General, Prayer P: Beckenhorst ©: Thankyou Music

If ye love me V: SAB #: 7632 C: David Ashley White A: A Cappella U: Adult • General, Pentecost • Small Church P: ECS ©: 2011

Just as I Am V: SATB w/solo #: 6-34337-181509 E: Paul McIntyre A: Keyboard, opt. Orchestration; opt. Trax U: Adult • Prayer P: Lifeway ©: 2010

When the Stars Burn Down V: SATB w/duet #: 0 80689 08423 2 E: Daniel Semsen A: Piano, opt. Orchestration; opt. Trax U: Adult • Praise, General P: Word ©: 2010

Love Poured Out V: SATB #: 008109 C: Janet Sullivan Whitaker and Paul A. Tate A: Flute, Guitar, Keyboard, opt. Clarinet U: Adult • General, Lord’s Supper P: World Library ©: 2011

I Need Thee Every Hour V: SATB #: 7L0177 E: Jay Rouse A: Piano, opt. Trax U: Adult • Prayer P: Lindsborg ©: 2012

Whispering Hope V: SATB #: 36811 E: Ruth Elaine Schram A: Keyboard U: Adult • Prayer, General P: Alfred ©: 2011

A Sovereign Promise V: SATB #: 978-0-8341-8153-3 E: Tom Fettke A: Keyboard, opt. Orchestration; opt. Trax U: Adult • General, Easter P: Lillenas ©: 2011

V: SATB #: 45757-2046-7 E: J. Daniel Smith A: Keyboard, opt. Orchestration; opt. Trax U: Adult • Easter P: Brentwood-Benson ©: 2011

scan the QR codes to the left of each title with your smartphone for the complete review, or go to

scan the QR codes to the left of each title with your smartphone for the complete review, or go to

V: SATB w/solo #: MSM-50-9820 0 C: Jonathan Crutchfield A: Organ, opt. Solo Horn or Brass U: Adult • General P: MorningStar ©: 2012

Stay Amazed V: SATB #: 6-34337-181110 E: Brian Brown A: Keyboard, opt. Trax U: Adult • General, Praise P: LifeWay ©: 2011

Crucified V: SATB #: BP1953 E: Craig Courtney A: Piano U: Adult • General, Lent P: Beckenhorst ©: 2011

Eternal Brightness V: SATB #: 7622 C: Gwyneth Walker A: A Cappella U: Adult • Prayer, General, Concert P: ECS ©: 2011

This Little Light of Mine V: SATB #: MAM-50-2550 C: Craig Carnahan A: A Cappella U: Adult • General, Concert P: MorningStar ©: 2012

Jesus Paid It All V: SATB #: 0 80689 09323 4 E: Marty Parks A: Piano, opt. Orchestration; opt. Trax U: Adult • General P: Word ©: 2010

Somebody Oughta Be Praisin’ Him  V: SATB w/ solo #: HMC2250 E: Ken Berg A: A Cappella U: Adult • Praise, Spiritual, General, Concert P: Hinshaw ©: 2011

When We Sing

V: Two-Part Children #:007118 C: Marie-Jo Thum A: Keyboard U: Children • General, Praise P: World Library ©: 2011

No Not One V: SATB Chorus #:978-0-8341-8154-0 E: Cliff Duren A: Keyboard, opt. Orchestration; opt. Trax U: Adult • Praise P: Lillenas ©: 2011

He is Here V: SATB #: GG5531 E: Camp Kirkland A: Keyboard, opt. Orchestration; opt. Trax U: Adult • Call to Worship, Praise P: Gaither ©: 2011

2012 |


The Shaping of an Effective Leader


Gayle D. Beebe IVP Books

Prayers at the Cross

An investigation of eight formative principles of leadership – including compatibility, character, and convictions – this book leans heavily, and expands upon the work of Peter Drucker.

good stuff

Well Seasoned Praise


Lee and Susan Naus Dengler Jubilate ©: 2011 A Choral Suite for Holy Week.

Created by Marty Parks Word ©: 2011 A collection of anthems, songs, and scripts for Senior Adult Choir.

Everlasting Arranged by Dave Williamson Word ©: 2011 Settings of worship songs for the worship choir.

Morning Songs for solo organ

Things we think would be helpful resources for church musicians and worship leaders... Love Unknown

Gwyneth Walker ECS Publishing ©: 2011 A Prelude, Meditation, and Postlude in a single collection.

Bill and Gloria Gaither Diamond Celebration Arranged and Orchestrated by Jay Rouse Gaither Music ©: 2012 3 medleys of classic music from the Gaithers.

Michael Burkhardt MorningStar Music ©: 2011


This “Festival of Passion Readings and Hymns” is distiguished not just by Burkhardt’s wonderful music, but by the readings, which are adapted from The Final Week of Jesus by Max Lucado. Scored for ogran alone or a small group of players, it is truly a “community” event, with parts for children and congregation.

The Instant Worship Choir Collection Word ©: 2011 20 accessible arrangements of music for the worship choir.


Listen 24/7... 28

new stuff

volume 34 - number 1 |

Back Issue Article Compilation CDs 0991staf1 Choirs ARTICLES INCLUDE

· 101 Things Every Choirmember Should Know · Choir Renewal · Helps for the Active Singer · The Incarnational Work of the Adult Choir

0991staf2 Leadership


· Becoming the Complete Church Musician · Dealing with Criticism · Identifying Tensions over Musical Style · The Church Musician as Transformational Leader

0991staf4 Small Church


· Any Church Can, Regardless of Size · Drama in the Small Church · Music Search on a Small Budget · The Small Church Primer

0991staf3 Worship


· A Theology of Worship · Don’t Plan a Service – Create a Moment · Eight Common Elements of Worship Renewal · The Worship Driven Church

Each compliation CD contains at least 40 articles (includes shipping)

Choir Articles CD is just $20 Leadership Articles CD is just $20 Small Church Articles CD is just $20 Get any two of the Choir Leadership and Small Church CDs for just $30 Worship Articles CD (60 Articles) is just $25 All 4 CDs are just $60 Order by phone 800-777-6713 Use your credit card Visit our website @

Send order to Creator Magazine ~ PO Box 3538 ~ Pismo Beach, CA 93448

by Robert McBain

last page

more than the music

At a recent conference I asked a colleague if he prayed with his choir and was involved with visiting choir members if they were hospitalized. I was surprised when he responded with “that isn’t my job.” Is it not reasonable that the Minister of Music have certain responsibilities to the members they serve? In some churches they require ordination before the title of

teams for the church members and then to the community. There was no question that the time of prayer would never be the same. We could see our blessings in the work we did. It is astounding that although people were moving out of the area in great numbers, after the storm, our choir grew.

Rober McBain has over 30 years of experience in Music Ministry.

The amazing thing is that the music really does become better and the time we take in the rehearsal to share our prayers and concerns will not be looked at as something that takes away from the time of rehearsal but necessary in a ministry of music. I do believe that if you take the challenge you will see lives that are changed, maybe fine your own like it did mine.

Surely we should consider the work we do as being more than preparing a 3 minute anthem TM

“minister” be used. Whichever title the individual church prefers; Director of Music or Minister of Music, should not you consider the position as one who cares and shares the joys and concerns of the persons in his/ her charge? Surely we should consider the work we do as being more than preparing a choir for the three minute anthem presented on Sunday morning. I found it heartwarming to see our choir become closer after hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana. Much time was given, in rehearsal, to hearing the needs of the choir members – from damaged homes from trees to the loss of appliances. We learned how to care for each other which in short time spread to our congregation with the choir in work


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Our purpose driven choir has continued to this day. Everyone knew what a ministry of music was because we all were a part of it. TM

It is not possible that we should consider our position as part of the mission of the church for which we serve. Our church mission is clear: “to make disciples.” I realized, after my question was asked, that there are many involved in church positions that look to their position as a job for which we receive supplemental income rather than ministry. I would challenge those that look to their position as a “job” that they find a church you believe in and become a part of the ministry.


In each issue we give one church musician or worship leader a chance to have their say. There are no restrictions on topic here (other than the obvious ones of slander, libel, and silliness). If you’d like to contribute your thoughts email us at

The Newest Choral Releases from

Beckenhorst Press Spring 2012

We will send you one copy each of our 16 new Spring 2011 releases for just $5.00 to cover the cost of shipping and handling. Send your check with a copy of this ad to: Beckenhorst Press, Inc. 960 Old Henderson Road Columbus, Ohio 43220 Church__________________________________________________ Attention_________________________________________________ Street___________________________________________________ City_____________________________________________________ State______________________Zip___________________________ Payment must accompany all orders before they can be sent. phone: 614-451-6461

What can you download at offers a library of over 1600 songs, anthems, & musicals by the writers and arrangers you know and love. For just one yearly fee, you’ll have access to a wide variety of music resources, including Choral Anthems, Praise & Worship, Children’s Choir, Instrumentalists, Musicals, and more!


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EXPIRES JAN. 31, 2012

Wounded Church Musicians  

Creator magazine's first issue of 2012 includes a feature story entitled Wounded Church Musicians plus our Select 20 anthem reviews and more...