Saturday, December 10, 2011

Worship Director?

I've been reading the job description of a position currently open at LCMS headquarters: "Worship Director & International Center Chaplain." The language of the Worship Director's list of duties creates some interesting dissonance against the theology of worship I have been brought up to. Here are some examples:

1. "Propose and create programs that will carry out the purposes and aims of the Synod in matters of worship"—Does that mean every act of worship has a measurable objective? Or are we talking about this job in terms of a bully pulpit for liturgical reform?

3. "Render informal chaplaincy and counseling services to employees as requested... keeping in mind the employer role through input/feedback from the Department of Human Resources where necessary or requested"—Does that mean you have to balance pastoral confidentiality against the fact that you're in a management position over the people you may be counseling?

4. "Provide pastoral leadership to develop a faithful Lutheran community at the International Center, counting with the collaboration of the Department of Human Resources as needed or requested"—In other words, you can't assume that everyone who works at LCMS Headquarters is a faithful Lutheran Christian; but if you're going to whine about it, whine to H.R.

5. "Periodically review the performance and effectiveness of worship programs and report results to the Executive Director and the Board of National Mission"—In other words, since the objectives of worship are measurable (see #1), you should occasionally measure your success.

8. "Be accountable for the technical and professional work of various adjunct committees as they produce worship materials"—though a previous item hints that you only have an advisory role in selecting these committee members. As far as I.C. chapel services are concerned, this means "just doing it by the book" is out of the question; in terms of the "bully pulpit," however, I can see where having a few extra hands writing the weekly prayers and lectionary summaries could be a help.

9. "Consult with the worship and music departments of the Synod schools to establish principles and practices in this area of the Church’s life which best reflect the biblical and confessional spirit of Lutheran worship"—principles which, obviously, haven't been discovered yet, or which change frequently enough that someone needs to do this on an ongoing basis.

All that, surprisingly, is beside duties of the I. C. Chaplain, which include some of the same duties, only stripped of prolix qualifying clauses that make the position sound like a stooge for whatever side of the "worship wars" is currently in favor. I think I would rather be the I. C. Chaplain than Julie the Worship Director, and I don't know how anyone could really be both; but I will probably never be either, because the requirements of the job include "significant knowledge and resourcefulness coupled with sound judgment in the fields of theology, liturgy, hymnody, church music, and related arts"—all of which I daresay I have, except perhaps the "sound judgment" part—and whether I've got that, too, seems a politically charged, subjective question.

To be sure, there's also the matter of having at least five years in the parish ministry (when I resigned after three and a half) and a master's or terminal degree in music and/or theology (when I have a B.A. in one and an M.Div., which in purely academic terms is virtually another B.A., in the other). But still, I can thank God I'm not qualified for this position because, from where I stand now, the spiritual compromises and conflicting priorities of the job would be a real cross to bear.

1 comment:

Timothy C. Schenks said...

They just issued a call to Pr. Weedon. What a waste of a good pastor. I hope he declines.