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