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Worship Matters: Pastors & Worship Leaders on Same Team

  • Bob Kauflin Director of Worship Development, PDI Ministries
  • Published Mar 11, 2003
Worship Matters: Pastors & Worship Leaders on Same Team

We've been taking time to explore the vital relationship between pastors and worship leaders. Along the way, we've seen that it takes wisdom, effort, and humility on both sides to ensure a smoothly functioning team that can serve the church effectively. Here are a few closing thoughts to consider.

Where there have been misunderstandings or disagreements it's wise to set aside time to talk through the reasons. If you've sinned against your pastor or worship leader, specific confession and repentance are vital to working together.  Acknowledge where you've sought your own way, or your own recognition. Seek to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

God has called pastors and worship leaders together to work as a team to serve His church. It's not unlike the coach of a football team. He assigns every member a specific part to play, all contributing to the one goal of winning the game. Being on the offensive line is certainly not as glamorous as being the quarterback or a receiver, but unless the quarterback receives adequate protection he has no hope of being effective. Our goal is not to protect or seek our own glory or desires, but God's.

When it comes to music, God's desires seem to be fairly broad. No musical style or order of service is prohibited or singled out by Scripture as being preferable. Pastors and worship leaders should work together humbly and wisely to determine what is best for their congregation.

"The Scriptures include or allude to just about every approach to worship there is: organized, spontaneous, public, private, simple, complex, ornate, or plain. Yet there is no comment anywhere about any one way being preferred over another. Rather, it is the spiritual condition of the worshiper that determines whether or not God is at work." (Harold Best, Music Through the Eyes of Faith, p. 146)

In the end, a humble, submitted attitude brings more glory to God than singing a particular style or a particular song. However, a worship leader must remember that he exists to serve his pastor in his efforts to see God glorified in the church.

Many pastors of small churches or church plants find themselves serving both as pastor and worship leader on a Sunday morning. If you're in a church where you have someone to co-labor with, thank God regularly for that opportunity. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (ESV) says "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.  For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!" No one gets it right all the time. Be thankful that on days when you're off, your pastor or worship leader is on!

Finally, we can take joy in realizing that the worship of God in your church is not ultimately dependent on a worship leader or the pastor, but on the fact that Jesus Christ has purchased for His father a people from every tribe, language, tongue and nation who will declare the excellencies of Him who has called them out of darkness into His marvelous light (Rev. 5:9, 1 Pet. 2:9). Our sin-stained offerings have been perfected through His atoning work. As we labor together to see God exalted in our churches, our very lives will be an offering that brings God pleasure. May it be so, for the Lord's glory.

Next week, we'll begin a guest series by my friend Craig Cabaniss, a pastor from San Diego, based on an outstanding message he gave at our most recent worship conference.


Recommended Resources:

Do you want to cultivate a greater regard for local pastors? Visit the Sovereign Grace website to see a short video of Bob's pastor, C.J. Mahaney, on the value of local pastors.

An outstanding book on the art of "speaking redemptively" is Paul David Tripp's War of Words.  You can order it from the Sovereign Grace Store here.