Nothing Succeeds Like Success

So, I sing in the choir at church. It’s taken a lot of twists and turns over the seven years I’ve done it— it started out as a youth choir, then it was a praise & worship band, then it was one guy and a guitar and me, and over the last year, it was that guy, the new leader (an alto who plays guitar) and me and one other soprano. He left a few months ago, another woman plays piano with us sometimes.

Over the last few months, we’ve been rounding out our sound with harmonies. We started small, but we’ve been singing together 8 months or so and we’re getting comfortable enough with each other that there are more and more harmonies. People started responding to them right away, and now people really seem to be into our sound— singing with us more, yesterday I noticed that they’re coming to church earlier and being there while we rehearse, and staying all the way to the end of the last song. Especially during the summer, when attendance tends to be really light, that’s a pretty amazing development.

Earlier, the leader was begging people to get involved, and not getting any volunteers. She came to peace about it a couple of months ago and started saying she didn’t feel like we needed more singers— she’d like another instrumentalist or two, but she thought the vocal balance was right on. Now, we’re starting to get people who want to sing, who have “a lifelong love” of or history in music and a real desire to participate. People who were there when she was asking, before, but who weren’t raising their hands. Maybe their situations have changed. Maybe they weren’t called before, but they are now. And maybe it’s easier to say yes to being part of something once its come together than when it’s struggling.

Our church (and particularly that service), needs as many volunteers as it can get, and it’s a really good sign, regardless, that people want to be part of what we’re doing. It’s one of those systems where the same people do everything until they get exhausted and fed up, so new blood is a really good thing. And new people who want to be part of ministry is just good full stop, because it says engagement is going up, and in times like these, engagement going up in a religious community is a rare and precious thing. It’s just interesting, to me, to see when people’s hands go up. I’m the sort of person who volunteered because the choir didn’t sound very good, and though I’m no rock star, I thought my background and modest vocal training could help stabilize a situation. Other people are the kinds of people who volunteer because the choir sounds good, and they want to be part of a group like that. It’s a totally valid reason— I’ve listened to good choirs and wanted to sing with them, too, it’s just an interesting system to observe over time.

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