Avoiding a Ministry Crash

by May 17, 2017Epiphanies

Recently, we’ve seen quite a lot of media coverage, reporting, and bantering about the airline industry. Overbooking, bumping confirmed travelers, and even dragging an unwilling medical doctor down the aisle of an aircraft have all brought on disbelief, alarm, consternation, and outrage from many, including airline employees and executives.

I’m not sure if these customer service debacles are the cause of some of the lowest airfares we’ve seen in years, but this summer, you can fly from the US to certain European destinations for less than half of what airfares were this time last year.

I have to admit my own share of frustration with air travel over the years of flying for YouthCUE, but one thing remains steadfast in my mind: the whole aircraft travel phenomenon is nothing short of a miracle to me. I’ve flown a couple of million miles since I began this ministry, but to this day, I honestly cannot imagine how something as huge and heavy as a passenger jet could ever get off the ground in the first place. So anything beyond that is, I suppose, a bonus.

One part of the flying routine never ceases to capture my imagination – pulling into and out of the gates. Have you ever observed even one flight crew who ever dared to move the jet into and out of the close confines of an airport gate without an exterior crew out on the tarmac guiding the pilot’s careful movement of the aircraft? It’s universal; there’s always a crew on the ground serving as the pilot’s eyes for parts of the aircraft and gate she or he cannot see. With a baton in each hand, a minimum of two ground crew members help the pilots put the plane precisely on the target. It happens tens of thousands of times every day in airports around the globe.

It’s not only airline pilots who need guidance with the big, expensive, precious, heavy cargo and machinery of their vocations. Directors who give leadership to student choirs also need a certain kind of guidance and input as well. Lone ranger directors tend to crash into walls, put the wings of programming through floor-to-ceiling windows of relationships, hurt students’ feelings, and insult or alienate the parents of the students to whom they seek to minister. Also common is to see directors tangle unhappily with fellow staff members vying for the students’ time and attention. A lack of guidance at key points is likely to destroy both aircraft and airport, and the results could be injurious or even deadly to those aboard or standing nearby.

How can directors avoid becoming ministry crashers, program wreckers, and lone rangers? Several practical YouthCUE offerings come to mind, provisions made for you to specifically help prevent disasters large and small.

First, you can participate in YouthCUE’s National Roundtable, this year being held September 17-19, 2017 in San Antonio, TX. Because this is such an important gathering for so many directors, YouthCUE has fundraised underwriting from donors so this first-rate event can happen for you at a minimal cost. “Come to the River” is the theme of this year’s Roundtable, and we hope you will join us! You will not be disappointed.

Second, become a part of the YouthCUE network which shares – through blogs and the monthly online newsletter – the joys, challenges, problems and solutions of being an effective student choir director. We learn a ton from one another! If you already subscribe to the newsletter, thanks and please forward this to a friend!

Third, watch for two new offerings for members coming soon from YouthCUE: Podcasts and Webinars. Podcasts will soon become available to our directors, and these resources will be hugely helpful in addressing the most essential and ever-changing challenges of student choir ministry today. We believe you will be surprised at how relevant the Podcasts are in addressing our everyday needs as directors and mentors to the adolescent singers we lead. Stay tuned for much more.

Please don’t make the mistake of trying to steer your program totally alone! We all have too many blind spots to be successful as Lone Rangers. We need one another! Not only do we want to help you, but we also want you to help us!

Together, we can do this!


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Randy Edwards

Randy Edwards

Founder & President, YouthCUE & Minister of Music & Worship at Woodland Baptist Church in San Antonio, TX

Prior to devoting his full-time efforts to YouthCUE beginning in 2005, Randy served for more than thirty years as minister of music at First Baptist Church San Antonio, First Baptist Church Shreveport, Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio and currently at Woodland Baptist Church in San Antonio. He served as Chorusmaster of the Shreveport Opera Company from 1991-1999.

He has composed twenty-one published choral anthems and has authored the most comprehensive textbook to date on youth choir ministry, entitled, Revealing Riches and Building Lives: Youth Choir Ministry in the New Millennium. With more than six hundred articles published in over thirty publications, Randy Edwards is one of the premiere specialists in youth choir ministry today. He is sought widely as a conductor, clinician, consultant, and teacher.