Prima Donna’s

I would like to state one of my pet peeves, “Church American Idol Wanna-be’s” or another name “Vocal Prima Donna’s”.  Over the years of working in music ministry at church I have developed a fear of people who want to join the music team because they want to sing.  Don’t get me wrong.  Some people are amazingly gifted at singing but there are many others that have come to me who really should not be handed a microphone.  Most often there seems to be an ego involved and a need to be on stage.


Years ago I inherited a music team from my old church with about 8 or so vocalists.  Each Sunday, 4 or 5 vocalists would help lead music.  A couple of the vocalists were very good but there were several others that were simply tone deaf.  The sound guy would literally turn off the microphones in the house speakers so the church would not have to hear the painful singing.  These vocalists had no idea they were turned off.  I felt horrible about this knowledge.  I did not want to continue lying to these people, but I also did not want to pain the church with having to listen to off-key vocals.  I finally had a meeting with all the vocalists and told them that I was simplifying the music team.  I asked two vocalists to join my “new” team and encouraged the other people to find other ministries for awhile.  Oooooh, was I just the popular one at that decision.   I received a couple of nasty letters from one of the vocalist and the pastor got an earful from this person about my cruelty of cutting her off the team. She finally left the church. It was a rough start.  I wish I could say that this was an isolated case but through the years of church ministry, I have talked with other worship leaders who have had similar experiences.


It’s unfortunate when people use the church stage to satisfy their ego. As I have dealt with musicians and vocalists through the years I have found that the most talented musicians and vocalists I have worked with are humble and easy going (most of the time).  They have nothing to prove. Unfortunately, I have encountered a few ego’s on the way.  The occasional guitarist who needs the lime light or the fussy vocalist who believes they are amazing.  Luckily they don’t go to my church.  If we pursue ministry to satisfy the ego, we definitely dishonor God. 


Have you ever met someone serving in a ministry that really should not be in that ministry?  How about the angry church secretary or the children’s leader that seems to be on the verge of the nervous breakdown.   I believe that God reveals to us our gifts in 3 ways.  First, we serve through passion.  We serve because we are passionate about Jesus. Some jobs in the church are difficult, like cleaning or serving in the nursery.  Some of the best Christ followers serve in areas that nobody notices but they do these jobs because of their passion for Jesus.  Second, we serve in an area we are skilled in. Third, others confirm our gifts.  My husband is the first to tell me if I am out of my gifting (not in a critical way).  He is honest with me so that I don’t end up burned out or messing something up.


Do you agree or disagree?  How does your church handle volunteers?  I am interested in hearing your opinions on this.  Stephen and I have been in discussion on this quite a bit as we try to figure out how to be in leadership at our church.


2 Comments on “Prima Donna’s

  1. Dear Patricia Suzanne…my namesake…so to speak.
    My church has two worship groups. One of them is great; the other sings sharp…consistently. For the longest time, I thought they were flat; but they are not; they sing sharp. It drives me batty that they can’t sing on key. And I try to be a positive influence off in my corner.
    But honestly; I value that they lead worship and that they have a heart for the Lord. Maybe in a smaller church there are less prima donnas.
    Nonetheless…good thoughts you share

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