The Role Of The Worship Leader

My friend Michael Larkin posted this on his blog and I really enjoyed it and wanted to repost it here. Enjoy. 

“The relationship between a lead pastor and worship pastor is very important for our style of church to operate. It is almost as if we are married. Our children’s pastor can be doing something that doesn’t totally jive with what we in the worship center are doing and it really doesn’t effect us. The same is true with our youth pastor. However, when it comes to a worship pastor, it is of utmost importance that we are on the same page. We basically play in the same sandbox and what we do better jive.

The worship leader who filled in today was very good and he is very talented. Matter of fact I would go as far as to say he could LEAD worship in many of the churches I have visited. He has a strong voice, he led the crowd well, and he connected with our people. To someone who has been attending RSC for a short time, they probably noticed very little change.Matter of fact, they might have even noticed a slight improvement in the vocal area. I on the other hand noticed several things that made me appreciate the job that Tim does here even more.

I am convinced a church plant will never be what it could be until it has the right worship leader. Matter of fact, I would say this should be the first hire for a church planter maybe even before you bring yourself on full time. In today’s culture, music is that important. When Tim leads worship for us, I am at peace and I am comfortable. That makes my job of teaching much easier. It seems like everyone I know is looking for a worship leader and they are hard to find. I thought today I would just give you some things I learned in the process of looking for a worship pastor:

1.) Make sure their style fits your style. We went six weeks without a worship pastor. During those six weeks we rotated some very gifted worship pastors in on Sunday mornings. All of these guys could lead in a lot of churches but not at RSC. Our worship pastor is a good fit for us because he compliments my style of teaching very well. He is energetic, he has a good time on stage, and he keeps the crowd up beat. That goes very well with my style of teaching. It is important that the crowd is alive when I come up to teach. This week for instance, the worship was good. But, it was much more “worshipful” then normal. The music was a little slower and it didn’t have the edge that we are used to. Though it was good, I found it very hard to get up and teach after worship because our crowd today was much more mellow then normal.

2.) A Worship leader doesn’t have to have the best voice – I was not looking for a singer, though Tim sings very well. I was looking for someone who understood what corporate worship was about and could lead our people in worshipping God on Sunday morning. I was looking for someone who could gauge how to lead by how the crowd was responding.

3.) Make sure their philosophy fits your philosophy – We are very stubborn in the way we do church on Sunday morning. We understand there will be a lot of seekers there and we keep that in mind. I don’t want a worship pastor who wants to free flow or worship in song the whole service. I needed someone who understood our philosophy and had no problems with that. Think about your philosophy and make sure your worship pastor has the same one.

4.) Be VERY specific in letting them know the style of worship you want – Everyone is doing “contemporary” church today. No one even knows what that means anymore. Buy some CD’s of current guys whose style you like, buy secular CD’s of guys you like and let your worship leader know the style you feel God would have the church to be.

5.) Define their role – Everyone has a fancy title for the worship person: Worship pastor, Worship leader, Creative Arts Pastor, Creative Worship Pastor, etc. I could care less what you call it but, define the responsibilities. For example, our worship pastor not only has the worship band under his leadership, but all the media ministries as well. This includes, sound, CD table, audio visual elements, etc. Because we are portable he is also responsible to see to it that those elements get set up on Sunday mornings. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you place under them, just make sure the role is defined.

6.) Make sure they want to lead worship and not be a rock star – I find so many pastors who settle on a guy because he has led a band and they think he can lead worship. I know several worship pastors who really don’t want to lead worship but that is what puts food on the table. What they really want to do is travel and be in a band. Nothing wrong with that but not a good fit long term for a worship pastor.

7.) Make sure they can lead a band – There are a lot of guys who can lead when it is just them and a guitar. Playing with a band is a totally different story. In our type of church, a band is a must. So therefore he must be able to play with a band.

8.) Make sure they are open minded – They last thing I want in a worship pastor is someone who isn’t willing to change because they are so stuck in their “art.” If I hear another worship pastor who is not willing to do what is necessary to reach the lost because of their “art” I am going to scream. I want someone who could care less about style, I want someone who is willing to do what is necessary to connect with their target.

9.) Make sure their heart is in the right place – Do they want to lead worship because it is “cool” or do they want to serve the people of their church? This is a question that must be answered.”

I love all of this. What do you think? 

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