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How to Organize a Church Choir 6 - Handling Difficult Personalities Part 1 .
So maybe Derek has been your top vocalist for as long as he can remember- (in reality, 6 months). A great new talent joins the choir, threatening his star spot, so he decides to get sulky. For example, he shows up at church and sits in the congregation, not the choir seats to tell everyone and yourself that he has quit choir.
Bear this patiently. Encourage him. Pray for him and share scriptures to show that there is enough space in God's firmament for all stars.Once he knows his value to the work of God, he should serve as part of a team, more happily.
Margo is intelligent. Conscientious. Diligent. Faithful. Committed. And over-sensitive. She will never criticise you to others but she will misunderstand what you say. She will decide your general comment was a weapon aimed at her. She will regularly feel insulted and determine to bear it, like a martyr. Margo is often musically capable as well.
How to handle Margo? Do not yield to the temptation to slap the self righteousness out of her. (I jest). Seriously, ignore her. Pray for yourself, take a deep breath and be thickly nice in all communication with her. You are not faking it. You are fixing it as best as you can.
You will likely come across a Delia in your choir at some point. They clearly need a lot of work on say, their vocal skills, but they do not hear what everyone else hears.
First of all, Delia can't be corrected. She is, after all, so experienced. She might have led a choir; her father might have been a choirmaster or she might have once played a leading role in a vocal group. She considers herself to be very qualified and is easily offended when for best interest she is asked to reduce the strength of her voice, or instrument.
What do you do?
Pray for her to flourish for as long as she is with you. Look for someone else who can honestly but kindly explain to Delia what everyone else hears. That way you are not seen as the evil, only one who has something against her. Encourage Delia to get some vocal training.
Yes you can do this. Difficult personalities are there to forge your testimony and you, theirs. David in the Bible is such an inspiration to every leader:
1 Samuel 22:2 King James Bible
And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.
Later we read that out of that company, thirty-seven became David's mighty men (1 Chron 11:10-41)! Their exploits were beyond merely human. And the rest of the men became part of David's winning troops that enjoyed the Lord's victory again and again.
Praying for difficult personalities is simple. Just stick with it. Your aim is for God's wisdom to reign over any 'incidents' and for your feelings of irritation or upset to be neutralised so that you can encourage Derek, Margo, Delia or whoever.
A very effective, private prayer in your understanding is to thank God repeatedly for say, Derek just the way he is, till your heart is at peace. Next, declare the end from the beginning in faith - again in private. Say things such as 'I love the way Derek is so cooperative, Oh glory to God, Derek feels valued and appreciated.' Say this even though it doesn't yet appear to be so. Eventually your words will prevail, just as surely as negative words have been scientifically proven to warp people in dysfunctional relationships.
If you do all you can do and some difficult personalities leave the choir in some kind of huff regardless - do not feel guilty. Put it behind you.
Next hub - more interesting choir characters. Do you have a Lazy Larry, Stingy Stephanie, Percy the Politician, Mandy the Maverick , Choosy Charlie ? Identify these personalities and manage them effectively in order to bring the best out of them.