• Dr. Heather Nelson

Dear Church Musician...

What a week.


The bad news just seemed to keep rolling in without stopping. With no time to breathe before the next hit. And not a lot of warning that it was coming in the first place.


I mean, we've been busting our tails moving our services online. Many of us, myself included, found ourselves suddenly music director, webmaster, videographer, tech support, and social media manager with less than a week's notice and no training. Sometimes with no help. The work has been long and lonely. But we were getting ready to start moving back toward normal. Or a new normal. And now THIS.


I was the bearer of that bad news for many of you, and for that I'm sorry. I'm sorry I brought new worries and hurts. This past week many of you have shared with me your hurts and fears.


Hurt for your people who are going to miss something they love and maybe not understand why.


Hurt for yourself because this part of you that is so fundamental to who you are now seems, well, dangerous.


And fears of the risks. Fears of the unknown. Fears about your job.


Friends, I carry these with me. It's why I'm up at 2:00 in the morning, writing my heart out to you. I hurt with you. I understand your fears. I'm sorry for my part in it.


But we need to know the facts, as best as we can. We have to face those facts head on. After all, we can't really move ahead if we aren't aware of exactly what we're facing. So for that, I'm not sorry. I am grateful that we have enough notice before our churches open that we can take action that quite literally could save lives. I just can't believe that the timing of all of this has been coincidence. I see the protecting hand of our Father warning and preparing us. And because of that, I am confident that He's going to be right in front of us, leading in the right path.


And you, friend, you are needed now in the Church. Maybe more than ever. You who are so adept at helping people express their emotions, declaring the truth of the gospel, you can help them navigate their emotions as we collectively seek the comfort of God. You can teach them how to lament well. You can empower them to make music in their own homes. You can show them how worship can extend beyond singing and playing to the many ways we can connect with God.


You are vital in this time.


I can't promise that every church will see that. We all know that some congregations love the music, but they aren't always good at loving their musicians. If I could wave a wand and allow people to see just how hard you work when no one is watching, I would do it in a heart beat. You deserve to be valued. But friend, you are deeply loved and held by our Father. And He still has a mission for us.


We are the soldiers marching out before Jehoshaphat's army, praising while we lead our people into the battle that is coming (2 Chron. 20). Our praise may look and sound different for a time, but it is no less potent.


No, no, my friend. Our praise is powerful.


God inhabits our praise.


Our services will look different when we start to meet together again. And we don't know how long it will look different. But I am confident of this: The promises of God are still Yes and Amen (2 Cor. 2).


There is nothing restricted, or banned, or silent about our God. We may not be able to sing together right now, but He still sings over us with songs of joy (Zeph. 3:17). As you and I learn how to better listen to His song, we then will teach our people how to listen, too.


For now, I know the hurt and fear and absolute yuck of everything doesn't just vanish. We've got to work through those emotions and just deal with the fact that most of us are in a pretty deep valley right now. If there is anything I can do to help support you, please reach out. I'm in your corner, and you're in my prayers. .


This won't be easy. But no part of this will be wasted, either. I'm looking forward to seeing how we will be stretched and strengthened, emerging on the other side of this looking more like Christ. And we'll see how He miraculously and mercifully worked this all out for our good and His glory.


Yes and Amen.





If you need resources for your own mental health and resiliency, start here. These resources are aimed toward pastors, but there's much that can still apply to everyone in church leadership. Take care of yourselves, friends.


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