Worship Matters: Pastors and Worship Leaders, Part 2
- Bob Kauflin Director of Worship Development, PDI Ministries
- 2003 11 Feb
We've just begun to look at the relationship between a worship leader and his pastor. What can a worship leader do to make sure the relationship flows smoothly and honors the Lord? Here are some thoughts.
First, realize that you're not the only worship leader. The term "worship leader" has developed numerous connotations in our culture, not all of them helpful.
Even though I may be leading the singing during a part of the meeting, I'm not the only one seeking to encourage the congregation in the worship of God. It's the pastor's job as well. In fact, it's the pastor who is ultimately responsible for the direction and life of the church, not the worship leader. I found this quote from Ron Man to be helpful:
"The pastor of worship and music should perhaps be called something like 'pastor of corporate praise,' in order not to confuse things, because the worship of God's people is not only his goal, but every staff person's goal! The children's and youth pastors have the ministry of developing young people into worshipers; adult ministries pastors should seek to teach adults to prize God and his glory above all things, and to worship him above all other pursuits; the pastors in charge of missions and evangelism have the ministry of seeking to multiply worshipers for God; the preaching pastor has the responsibility of publicly cherishing the glory of God and expounding it and inviting others to share in the wonder of wholehearted, and whole-life, worship." (Ron Man, Reformation and Revival Journal, Vol. 9, No. 2, "Worship and the Glory of God", p. 94)
I know the temptation a worship leader can face in thinking that the time of singing is "my time." I'm familiar with the sting in my heart when my pastor informs me that we have to cut the corporate worship short. It's even worse when I'm told right before the meeting. My heart cries out, "But what about my plans! My arrangements! My transitions!"
"What about your pride!" God responds. Worship leaders serve as those under authority. A pastor should feel welcome at any time to interrupt or adjust what we're doing, because we're doing it to serve his priorities, not our own. God tells us in Philippians 2:3-4, "Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others" (ESV).
Hebrews 13:17 is even more specific: "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you" (ESV). In real life that may mean cutting the worship time short, singing a different song, one that you don't particularly prefer, or not doing a song at all.
Another way I can serve my pastor as a worship leader is by realizing that my job description entails much more than leading the congregation in worship songs during a meeting. A worship leader can also be called the "lead worshiper." I want my passion for God's glory to be reflected in the way I relate to others, the places I spend my money, and the activities I choose to participate in. It's a "life" thing.
Recommended Resources from Sovereign Grace Ministries:
(1.) Bob recently gave a sermon at Covenant Life Church called "Building a Worshiping Community." You can download a free MP3 file or listen to the entire sermon online at Covenant Life Church's website.
(2.) The print version of Worship Matters has been turned into an audio program for Christian radio. You can download these programs (each one is 2 minutes, 30 seconds in length) by visiting the Sovereign Grace website.
Read Part One of this series here.