Gifting vs Character

For 15 years I’ve welcomed people into roles in Worship and Creative Arts Ministries, having experienced countless auditions, coffees and discussions around criteria for service. One of the guiding principles I’ve aimed to follow is finding an appropriate blend of talent and character – a task that can be difficult at times.

I started out playing in a worship team simply to help out a friend who needed a pianist for a short while. It wasn’t long until I was singing, music directing and training for a more active role in ministry. I recall hesitating being involved in music at church because I didn’t think, “I should just because I could”. I might have the ability to play the notes required but was this what God was calling me to? Never did it cross my mind that my character and maturity in Christ were actually far more important things to consider.

Fortunately I was mentored by experienced leaders who saw beyond my gifts and decided to build into my character. It was at this point my view of ministry changed dramatically. I also came to the realisation that character development, just like my musical learning, would be a lifelong journey. Instead of looking for the most gifted people to fill roles in or team I do my best to look for virtues such as integrity, willingness to serve, humility, teachability and Christlikeness. It’s my belief that people can be taught to be better technicians but formational qualities, like those just mentioned, are much more difficult to impart (albeit not impossible!). For example, I’d much rather serve in a worship team with a novice musician who is a great team player over someone far more advanced but unteachable. Ideally there needs to be a balance of skilfulness and character – I’ve learned that one without the other isn’t desirable.

Being a new year you might be considering changes to your life, including serving in a new way. I’d love to hear from you if you’ve had any background in music, technology or the performing arts. It might have been a while since you’ve played an instrument or you might have never served in church before but please consider contacting us as we might have the perfect spot for you!

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