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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Special WorshipCoach Feature - Free Break Forth Canada Magazine

Download the Break Forth Canada 2011 Conference Magazine for free!

You'll find inspiring articles from Franklin Graham, Philip Yancey, Dr. Gary Chapman, Donald Miller, Dr. Kevin Leman and John Eldredge

You will also be able to check into insider's information and so much more!
May this be a small way for us to thank you for reading the WorshipCoach Blog.  

Download it free here. (Give it a couple of minutes - it's a 16 MB download)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

WorshipCoach Guest Blog: Pastor, Worship Leader and Worship Team - Part Two

In just days, Break Forth Canada 2011 will have launched with an expected 15,000 people. Needless to say, we're full-steam ahead.

I'm blessed that my good friend, Dan Thiessen has written such an excellent guest blog on "The Pastor, Worship Leader and Worship Team." All of these roles are intrinsically valuable but functioning together as a team increases the impact of congregational worship. Conversely, when harmony doesn't exist between members of the team, and there is a confusion of roles and responsibilities, the entire worship life of your congregation can become lifeless.
Dan Thiessen is an author, pastor, songwriter, worship leader, recording artist and entrepreneur. We're blessed to have him write while we prepare for Break Forth Canada 2011 (January 28 - 30).

Important Note: Although the Break Forth Canada 2011 main conference sold out last November, there are still tickets available for all of the concerts (with artists such as Casting Crowns, Leeland, Paul Baloche, Brian Doerksen, Desperation Band, Pocket Full of Rocks, Jared Anderson, 33Miles, Downhere, Steve Bell, Building 429, Bluetree, Joel Auge, Don Poythress, Linnea Salte, Junkyard Poets, Jon Bauer, Derek Gust, Geoff Moore and more!)

There is also space available for our Pre-Conference Intensive Learning Workshops in 24 Different All-Day Seminars. Study Worship Leadership, Worldview, Vocal, Video, Student Ministry, Spiritual Renewal, Sound, Songwriting, Small Groups, Prayer, Praise Team Skills, Marriage, Lighting, Leadership, Keyboards, Healing Transformation, Guitar - Electric, Guitar - Bass, Guitar - Acoustic, Evangelism, Drums, Church Governance, Children's Ministry and Blended Family Ministry). With presenters like Dr. Gary Chapman (Five Love Languages), Paul Baloche, Brian Doerksen and more - you will not want to miss this. Just register on site.
Click the Break Forth Canada 2011 Logo below to Visit our site! 

Worship – Pastor, Worship Leader and Worship Team
Part Two – The Worship Leader

Dan Thiessen

Today we will be discussing the role of the worship leader and their relationship with the pastor. Before we do that, though, we need to refresh the premise for worship in II Kings chapter three. There we find three kings fighting a common enemy. One king suggests they bring in a prophet to give them a strategy to fight this battle. The prophet Elisha comes but first asks that a musician play. As the musician plays, Elisha hears then speaks the word of God with authority.
If we were to use this premise for our worship services then the musician would be the worship leader and the prophet would be whoever is speaking/preaching that service. If you’ll notice, the musician’s name is not given. The musician was called in to serve a process, a larger process than the playing of their instrument. This was definitely a serving position. A position many (all) worship leaders need to understand.
When I think of worship leading I can’t help but think of another example from scripture. John the Baptist had a significant role in preparing the world for the Messiah. He had no intention of developing a followership and certainly had no intentions of drawing attention away from Jesus. His famous words of “He (Jesus) must increase and I (John) must decrease” come into play here.
Worship leading has its own authority while in worship but will always defer when the lead authority needs to speak. It really is a conundrum for some because in some settings we give the worship leader too much authority and in some settings not enough. At the end of the day, though, the pastor is the final authority in the worship setting and the worship leader needs to walk and model submission to their pastor.
Regarding the relationship between the worship leader and the pastor a worship leader must:
1.       Remind themselves constantly that they are there leading worship at the behest of the pastor and to show the respect and honor that is due. Leading their congregation in worship is a privilege and not a right and not one to be taken lightly. Develop a culture of gratefulness. Publicly thank them for the privilege of leading their flock in worship.
2.       Remind themselves constantly that they are there leading worship to serve a process and not to fulfill their unmet needs. And just to remind you, the process is for the presence of God to be manifest in such a way that the pastor can speak with greater authority.
3.       Remind themselves constantly that they are not the pastor and thus are to model servanthood. Humility and worship leading go hand in hand. There was a time when worship leaders would use leading as an opportunity to preach. I do not see that as much anymore but it is still there. DO NOT PREACH…LEAD!
4.       Remind themselves constantly that when they lead worship they are part of the sheep that are being led. There is no “Us – Them” in worship. There is no “You guys…” in worship. What there is in worship is, “We…”. If God wants to communicate something through you to the congregation you are part of that congregation and speak as though God is speaking to you not just through you.
5.       Remind themselves constantly that when they are done leading worship that is not the end of the service. A worship leader needs to listen to the sermon intently and to be emotionally present. Sadly many worship leaders disconnect once they are done leading worship and can’t wait for the service to be over. Whether you realize it or not you are being watched and will reproduce after your kind.
6.       Remind themselves constantly that they are accountable both on and off the platform to the pastor. Accountability works so much better when initiated by the worship leader. Imagine going to the pastor and saying, “Pastor, I want to hold myself accountable to you, to live a life worthy of leading your congregation in worship. I give you access to speak into my life and to direct me if I in any way distract the congregation from worshipping Jesus by my life or how I lead.”

The pastor/worship leader relationship is vital to the full manifestation of the presence of God during worship. If there is any kind of disunity whatsoever the congregation will pick that up and it will cause a distraction. If the relationship is right, the worship will be right. Remember, God’s presence is more fully manifested in unity (dedication of Solomon’s temple, where two or three are gathered…). Work towards unity and the rest will take care of itself.
Finally, a gentle reminder: you are not the pastor you are the worship leader. Lead in worship.
Next, we will address the worship team.
Dan Thiessen

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Pastor / Worship Leader Relationship Part 1

As we head into Break Forth Canada 2011 I'll be bowing out of writing for a few weeks. However, I have a superb guest blogger with a three part series on the Pastor / Worship Leader Relationship.

Dan and I toured together in the '70's across North America. We held many concerts, led in worship and helped to pave the way together in many churches for more culturally current expressions while maintaining a historical and scriptural foundation.

Dan has since gone on to record several albums, had worship songs recorded with major publishers, served as a Senior Pastor, Worship Leader, Itinerant Musician and Teacher, Author and Entrepreneur. This gives him a unique perspective as he has lived inside the skin of several roles.

You can learn more about Dan at  

Worship – Pastor, Worship Leader and Worship Team
Part One – The Pastor
                To understand the relationship dynamics between the pastor, worship leader and worship team we need to understand the premise for worship in our congregational settings. I will first lay the premise from scripture as I see it and then deal with the roles of the pastor, worship leader and worship team. Today we will be dealing with the pastor’s role. But first, the premise:
                In II Kings chapter three we see the story of three kings (Israel, Judah and Edom) going to battle against a common enemy from Moab. At first they try in their own strength and fail. The king of Judah (Jehoshaphat) then remembers a prophet (Elisha) who can speak from God into situations. The kings summon the prophet but before the prophet speaks he asks a musician to play and as the musician plays, the Spirit of God descends and Elisha gives a word of direction for the upcoming battle.
                It is my understanding from this scripture that a worship team is commissioned to intensify the presence of God so that the prophet (pastor) can speak with authority. I remember leading worship for a pastor once who didn’t quite understand all of this but when he preached after I had led worship he came to me and said he felt an authority to preach he had not felt before.
                So in this context what is the relationship between the pastor (prophet) and the musician (worship leader)?
1.       The pastor must recognize the gifting of the worship leader.

Elisha didn’t just call any old musician. He called this particular musician because he knew that when this musician played he, (Elisha), would hear God’s voice that much clearer and subsequently be able to speak the word with more authority.

2.       The pastor must respect the gifting of the worship leader.

Trust is huge here. And “trust” me, the congregation will pick up any mistrust in a heartbeat. I was leading worship once, leading the last song of the set as God’s presence was just settling on the congregation, when in the middle of the “settling” the pastor got up and did the announcements disturbing the flow and distracting the worshippers. Fortunately I had enough relationship with this pastor to point this out and ask him next time to watch me and to not come up until I had signaled. That takes trust.

3.       The pastor must be responsible for the gifting of the worship leader.

When I say “responsible” I mean the pastor is to pastor his worship leader. In a trust relationship (see point two) there is also accountability. If the relationship is a good relationship there is mutual accountability. What do I mean by accountability? The worship pastor needs to be held accountable to a biblically appropriate standard by the pastor. Part of what that means is that lifestyle must be consistent with leadership. Needless to say (though, sad to say, it is needed to say) a worship leader cannot be leading a double life. The pastor must stay connected to the worship leader, be in relationship with the worship leader, and share his heart with the worship leader so that they can with one voice glorify God during worship service.

4.       The pastor must reverence (honor) the gifting of the worship leader.

To reverence/honor the gifting of a worship leader is not to hold it up and admire it. To reverence/honor the gifting of a worship leader is to submit to it. At its very base you, as pastor, must worship in an expression that is consistent with your expectation. Almost as many people watch the pastor as watch the worship leader. If you are not worshipping you are communicating wrong messages to your congregation the simplest of which is, I don’t need to worship either.
                In subsequent blogs I will be discussing the roles/relationships of the worship leader and the worship team. Keep reading and keep leading into the presence of Jesus.
Next is the role of the worship leader.
Dan Thiessen