C. Randall Bradley. MorningStar Music Publishers, 2004. 330 pp. $32.00.
C. Randall Bradley offers a unique gift to those serving in the church’s music ministry: a book exclusively about thriving in the organizational and administrative aspects of the work.
Bradley systematically raises questions and issues that pastoral musicians inevitably face:
- How is one called to ministry?
- How are ministry and family balanced in a healthy way?
- How does one set up a retirement plan?
- What are the most important issues to consider while doing a hospital visit?
- What about working through conflict?
- How does one work with committees, communicate with a local newspaper, purchase a new hymnal, disciple volunteers, or transition gracefully to a new place of employment?
All of these questions (and hundreds more) are named and addressed with seasoned wisdom and care.
What emerges is a concept of ministry that values organizational proficiency as an important aspect of the worship leader’s calling. Those called to serve as “lead worshipers” or “pastoral musicians” may be tempted to gravitate exclusively toward thinking and behaviors that encourage musical excellence and that deepen a sense of pastoral purpose. But frequently overlooked are thinking and behaviors that can help a minister of music thrive within the systems and structures of the established church. Bradley’s book fills this unique niche. Musical excellence, pastoral energy, and administrative savvy hang together in a Spirit-filled way.
Although the amount of organizational grist in the book may be overwhelming to the non-administratively inclined, the book can serve pastoral musicians in three different ways. First, it offers a basic orientation to common organizational issues that lead worshipers need to be aware of. Second, it functions as a handy reference guide to particular organizational challenges that present themselves (for instance, consult the chapter “Facilities and Purchases” while researching the purchase of a new sound board). Third, an annual review of the book can serve as an administrative check-up. Doing the latter in the context of a church staff or pastoral support team would be particularly helpful.