We've been looking at the ways a worship leader can serve his pastor. Now let's look at some of the ways a pastor can return the favor.
Some pastors want to turn the entire area of music and worship over to their worship leader. This is a serious mistake. God has given every pastor the ultimate responsibility of being the worship leader, or lead worshiper, for his church. A pastor may not be a musician, but his love for seeing God's greatness proclaimed and responded to must be something others can learn from and follow.
Therefore, a pastor must first be a worshiper of God. No one should be more passionate for God's glory than the leaders of Christ's church. A church's experience of God will generally not go beyond the worship life of their pastor.
Certain characteristics stand out in pastors who are worshipers of God. They are more concerned about God's reputation than their own. For them, worship isn't simply an activity or a process. It is a way of life where every situation is an opportunity to express gratefulness for the gospel. They don't mind when they don't receive credit, as long as their Savior's name is being lifted up.
A pastor can serve both his worship leader and his church by taking time to choose carefully the right worship leader. Too many churches have a "revolving door policy" for worship leaders that is the result of poor planning or research. A pastor should look for someone who loves God's glory, and is not striving after personal recognition. Anyone who wants to lead worship out of love for attention ought not to have the opportunity, regardless of gifting. Other areas to evaluate are family life (as applicable), faithfulness in Bible study and prayer, and leadership gifting. A worship leader is meant to be an example for the church. When people see a contradiction between the way a worship-team member appears on stage and the way he lives, it undercuts his effectiveness. More importantly, it dishonors the name of Christ. Only after these areas of character are considered should a pastor evaluate musical gifting. Spiritual maturity can make up for a certain lack of musicianship, but the reverse is never true.
Once the right worship leader has been chosen, a pastor should take the responsibility to train him theologically. Here's a sobering quote from John Witoliet:
"Many worship leaders can't name a single book on the theology of worship. Most denominations (admirably) require preachers to pursue rigorous seminary studies before preaching. Yet we require of worship leaders only that they be willing to attend a single rehearsal or committee meeting. We would do well to lovingly challenge our worship leaders to grow in the knowledge and love of God." (Reformation and Revival, Volume 9, No. 2, "Discerning the Spirits," p. 19)
A wise pastor provides a book allowance for his worship leader and offers recommendations on what to read. I know I have benefited from reading books not just on worship, but on topics such as the cross, sanctification, and the Holy Spirit. It's also a good idea to attend conferences with your worship leader that will foster discussion and strengthen your relationship.
Recommended Resources from Sovereign Grace Ministries:
Bob taught on this subject at the 2000 "A Passion for the Glory of God" worship conference. You can read the outline at the Sovereign Grace website
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 at www.sovereigngraceministries.org/worshipmatters.
Other Articles in This Series: