Search This Blog

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Pastor / Worship Leader Relationship Part 3

Part of the Crowd at Break Forth Canada 2011
Last weekend we held Break Forth Canada 2011. We joined with thousands of other Christians in worship and being equipped for more effective ministry. 
We have heard stories of lives changed, ministries saved and stories of people experiencing worship like never before.
If you would like to order CDs, DVDs and MP3 discs of the sessions, please visit here.
The WorshipCoach Blog today is the final in the 3 part series on the Pastor / Worship Leader Relationship. It's written by guest blogger, Dan Thiessen. Now that Break Forth Canada 2011 is over, I'll be back at the writing helm next time.

Dan has recorded 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 Three – The Worship
                If you have read the previous two blogs regarding worship you likely now have a greater understanding for the premise of corporate worship; to intensify the presence of God so the Word of God can be spoken with greater authority. There are many secondary benefits (healing, wholeness, comfort, encouragement, etc.) but the primary is for God to speak through someone with power. If you have not yet read the previous blogs, please take the time.
                Today we will discuss the relationship/responsibilities of the worship team with the pastor.  There are a number of principles based on scripture that apply here though there are no identifiable worship teams in the New Testament and in the Old Testament the worship teams worked eight hour shifts and more often than not sang before God and God only and not to impress any congregation.
                When I was a worship leader/pastor looking to add members to the worship team I did three things:
1.       I set the bar (expectation) BEFORE people joined so they knew what would be expected of them. One time I inherited a worship team and had to set the bar after I arrived. Through the process of setting the bar I had to ask a lady to leave the worship team. While the situation caused quite a kafuffle at the time, it also told the remaining members and any potential new members that I was serious.
2.       I observed them in worship settings to see if they indeed had (as Marty Nystrom, writer of “As The Deer” and many other great choruses, said) the heart of a worshipper. If they were not worshipping while in the congregation they would not be leading worship with me on the platform. Talent alone is not a ticket to the worship team.
3.       I required a commitment to regular church attendance (not just the days they were leading worship).
In my thirty plus years in the ministry I have been associate pastor, senior pastor and worship pastor (paid and volunteer) as well as a worshipper in the congregation. I have seen congregational worship from most if not all angles. I have seen good worship teams and not so good worship teams. Here are my observable differences:
In all of the good worship teams there was an inherent humility. In all the bad worship teams there was an obvious pride. In all the good worship teams talent did not usurp ministry. In all the bad worship teams talent took center stage. In all of the good worship teams at some point I forgot they were there. In all of the bad worship teams they wouldn’t let me forget they were there.
While the scripture (Psalm 33) encourages us to play skillfully on our instruments we sometimes tend to focus on the skillfully part and forget the God part. As a pastor I leaned toward less talented, greater hearted worshippers. That is not to say (especially in this day and age where there are better musicians in churches per capita than ever before) that talent is the enemy. But talent without anointing is empty and fleeting. Talent WITH anointing is timeless and powerful.
If you are looking to join a worship team, remember to ask yourself these three things:
1.       Ask yourself if you have the heart of a worshipper (do you love God’s presence?)
2.       Ask yourself why you want to be on the worship team (it’s more about giving than getting, leading than attracting)
3.       Ask yourself if you can submit to the worship leader (more than one head is a monster)
All pastors really want from their worship team is a worship time where they can sense God’s presence. If you can serve the process of intensifying the presence of God so the pastor is able to speak with greater authority then you are an effective part of the worship team.
Dan Thiessen