Jump directly to the Content

The Sound of Clashing Expectations

Of course the pastor will do ______. Filling that blank often leads to wars and rumors of wars.

The choir rose for the anthem while I fingered the sheet music that had been hurriedly thrust into my hands before the service. The choir director had suggested I bring in the congregation to sing the last stanza with the choir. It was a familiar hymn.

Simple enough, I thought. I put the music aside and prepared for the worship service.

As the choir sang, I sat back and enjoyed the anthem. Shortly before the last stanza, I confidently stepped to the pulpit. With a sweeping gesture worthy of Leonard Bernstein, I signaled the congregation to sing and was met with . . . an organ solo!

If I had been able to read a musical score, I would have seen it-the instrumental interlude. Several seconds later, the choir and congregation began singing at the appropriate time without my direction. By then I was sheepishly hiding behind the pulpit.

After the service, one of the choir members said, "We asked you rather than the other pastor because we expected you would know more about music!"

Expectations! Every ...

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Why do members slide right out of some churches, and what can be done about it?
From the Magazine
Charisma and Its Companions
Charisma and Its Companions
Church movements need magnetic leaders. But the best leaders need more than charm.
Editor's Pick
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
Understanding God and our world needs more than bare reason and experience.