Your probably thinking, “Jed, that picture is dumb.” To which I say “Yes, you are right. Is the guy in the center wearing eye shadow?” Unfortunately, it was the best pic I could find to illustrate the problem of rivalries among musicians.
Most of the time this isn’t a problem (guitar player rivalries, that is, finding a good pic for your blog is quite an ordeal), but at some point of time we will have to deal with this if you haven’t already. Your worship ministry gets another guitarist. Something else happens: a rivalry. Maybe just in your mind or maybe just in theirs, but either way you are constantly sizing them up and you feel they are doing the same.
It doesn’t take you long before you start thinking “maybe this isn’t healthy?” After all we are called to love one another and what is happening between you two doesn’t seem to be love.
You always know something is up when interactions with the ‘Opposition’ become awkward, uncomfortably short or even hostile. Something has to change. Here are some thinking patterns to help you through this and to get past it.
Playing guitar is a position of service, not ownership. This is the point that is very true and will have everyone nodding their heads to the computer screen but doesn’t really make anyone feel better. That’s okay; it’s still true.
If you are a lone guitar player in your worship ministry it is very easy to start thinking your position of playing electric guitar (or acoustic) is your right, not your privilege. Obviously the opposite is true. Your ultimate motivation for playing guitar for your church is to fill a gap when needed, to serve when it is called upon. If you are playing because it is your position and your right than you have lost spirit of service necessary for worship ministry.
Two Types Of Bad Competition
There are two types of unhealthy competition that can develop in this type of situation.
1. The “I will beat you at all cost” competition.
This one almost always manifests itself as passive aggressiveness in churches. It is when one of you wants nothing more than to prove yourself better than the other person so much that it eats away at you.
Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are suffering from this condition.
-Do you give them advice when they ask?
-Do you ask them for advice?
-Are you willing to share your “secrets” with them?
-Are you happy for them when they succeed or grow?
If you answer no to any of these, take an honest look at yourself to see if you are the cause of an unhealthy rivalry.
2. The “There is no competition” competition.
This is the competition-phobic response to competition. It is when one of you just tries to ignore or avoid any and all types of comparison between you and the other guitar player(s). Your playing and your attitude should improve when another guitar player comes on the scene because you should be learning from them. Ask yourself these questions:
-Do you two ever have conversations that lead to one of you two playing a little differently?
-Are you ever motivated to get better because of them?
-Are you motivated to improve your tone?
If the answer is no to any of these, start looking for things they are doing well, things you can pick up on and learn from.
The Good Kind Of Competition: Iron Sharpens Iron.
Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Having two or more guitar players in your worship ministry should motivate healthy growth from both of you. Your relationship becomes about both of you growing rather than trying to beat the other person.
If you are not motivated to get better or learning from what they are doing then you need to work on creating a relationship that sharpens each other. If you are simply trying to become sharper simply to cut another person down then that needs to stop right now.
They are not your enemy, they are your partners in crime (sort of). Together you can create a stronger, better quality worship ministry.