Friday, 15 July 2011

A request for advice

I'm not expecting anyone to read this, much less post an answer. Having said that, any input whatsoever would be appreciated more than I can tell you.

How can I get people to commit to turning up to the church singing group?

I was roped into leading this group. I was quite happy to join a singing group but I didn't want to start one myself because I love singing but I hate leading and I hate teaching. But the next thing I knew, I had people asking me when it was going to start and what we were going to sing. I reluctantly accepted the challenge. Well, all my readers know I like a challenge. Usually.

To start with I had lots of encouragement, about 9 people said they would join, and the organist would accompany us. I got quite excited about it. Then the organist's whole family got the flu, and there were conflicts within the church community, and just as I was spreading around the date of the first meeting, I found myself without an accompanist. Cue the lost sleep, stress, panic, you name it, but I couldn't back out at that stage. The day before the first meeting, she called me to say she would play after all. My faith in humanity was restored.

The first meeting was last week and we had 4 people turn up on time and another 20 minutes before the end. I also had 4 apologies. We had a good sing, a good laugh, and the 5 of them all wanted practises every week. We set the ground rules. They were to let me know if they couldn't turn up, because even though I only live around the corner, the organist has a 25 minute drive and it wouldn't be fair to her if she organised a sitter for nothing. They all agreed and left in high spirits calling out "see you next week".

This week I had 2 apologies. 1 person turned up - one of last week's apologies. I got a text from another couple as the practise began to say they couldn't make it. Then 15 minutes before the end, 1 more arrived. That was it. We still had a good sing and a bit of a giggle and enjoyed the practise, because I have to make this fun for them otherwise they definitely won't come back.

But how can I get people to take responsibility for their actions? I really don't want to have to treat them like children and ring round everyone every week. I also don't want to spend more time sitting in a cold church waiting for them to keep their promises. And yes, this has happened twice before so I've tried it. Didn't like it.

All ideas are welcomed. Anonymously if you prefer. Thank you!


Squirrel x said...

Oh gosh hun, this is a tough one - we have enough trouble getting the whole congregation to make singing noises, let alone a small group. Don't really know what to suggest other than perhaps advertise the group a little bit - you might find a couple of enthusiastic outsiders will encourage the others to stick with it. Best of luck hun, think you might need it! Hugs Sxx

nerllybird said...

Well, I think I would ring round everyone every week, lol! If only because you want to save the organist the trouble of turning up. OR, you tell everyone that you're going to do it for another x number of weeks, and then if the turnout isn't any better it will be stopped. Make it their responsibility. Then the organist knows where she is as well. If after, say, four weeks, you're still getting only one or two people turning up, and you don't feel it's worth it, then you will have done all you can, and the balls' in their court!

Georgina said...

Can you give them all homework to make them accountable. Pull each one aside for a pep talk on how crucially important they are for the singing group to work. Is there a ringleader you can grab and make feel more important? is there perhaps another job someone else can have like a deputy choir leader - get them to call around everyone. Maybe email them all or newletter to each of them on Sunday about what you will be singing that week to practice. Maybe a pep talk to all of them about what you want? a goal setting session perhaps? I wish you lots of luck! You will make it work I know you will

Tam said...

Threaten them that God will smite them and they will fry in hell if it keeps happening. LOL

Seriously, you shouldn't have to babysite and they're being pretty rude. I think you should tell them straight up if they can't make the commitment you'll call off the singing group.