Let me describe a scenario for you and see if you can relate. You walk into a Church where no one greets you with a hello or even smiles at you. You proceed to sit down in the back of Church as far away from the Altar as you can get. The Priest then magically appears from the vestibule and everyone stands and watches him process down the aisle. Almost every song during the Liturgy is unfamiliar to you and the rest of the Assembly and at least 2 Cell phones go off at the most silent points in the Liturgy. No one sings a note and when you go to sit down after communion; half the people that were sitting by you are gone. Does this sound like your Church? I hope not, but I don’t think we can deny that this still goes in some Churches today.
So What Can We Do About it?
As Music Ministers we are often the first people that greet the Assembly publicly. We need to make sure that we are Hospitable and welcoming. Hopefully we have greeters that welcome people at the door, give them a smile, and hand them a worship aide. If not, let’s work on finding those people. As we greet the Assembly we need to always make sure that we are joyful and passionate about what we are doing. If it doesn’t sound like we want to be there, chances are that no one else will either.
The Warm Up
It is always a good idea to get people singing before the gathering song by going over some music before the Liturgy. This can be a new song or even something the people know just to get their voices warmed up. Try not to make it too long and don’t think it needs to be a comedy routine. Try to be yourself and try to be encouraging of people by not scolding them if they aren’t singing as loud as you would like. If we make people feel welcome and feel as if their voice is important it will open our Liturgies up to becoming more dynamic bringing the faithful of God closer to the Word and the Eucharist.