Song Leader or Worship Pastor?

In my church, we have had a history of Song Directors.  I was the Song Director or Music Minister for about 9 years.  As many of you may know from reading my blog or attending the church that I have been privileged to pastor, I have been going through many paradigm shifts.  As matter of fact the title of this blog reflects these shifts, hopefully from man’s way to God’s way.  Image

When I became a senior pastor I began to instruct the leadership concerning my ministry or leadership philosophy, which encapsulated, is unleash the leadership. This doesn’t mean that I let the leadership run in every direction without guidance and vision, but that as God calls and equips people I need to recognize that calling and gifting and give them room to roam.

This philosophy is something that has served me well over the six years that I have pastored.  This leads me to the next level, where you must not only tell the leadership that they are free to lead in their areas but you must convince them.  That said, when things need to change and you as the undershepherd see it, you need to persuade your leaders to that shift. Concerning the music and worship, guidance is necessary due to the volatile and important nature of such a personal ministry. Dictation only works so well for so long.  One of the changes that I have been trying to incorporate is a shift from Song Director to Worship Pastor.  A pastor teaches and preaches and cares.  In our worship we need these things to flow out of our “song director”.  We must choose someone that we can trust and let him lead.  We must encourage him to study worship and praise and then to guide the church to worship the God of the Universe. 

Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: And the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”

This mention of understanding is so critical, it cannot be dismissed.  In the past month I have reversed our order of service a few times to have our corporate worship at the ending rather than the beginning.  This week we opened up Isaiah 6 and Revelation and read and taught and preached on the holiness of God.  Then as we were closing the service, we sang together “Holy, Holy, Holy”, with a better appreciation for the holiness of God.  What a time of worship it was.  Now imagine a Worship Pastor unfettered and given the reigns of worship in the church; not preaching a 3 point sermon, rather instructing the people in the majesty of God, guiding their minds and hearts with instruction between songs and verses.  I was speaking with my friend Erik about just this thing and he hit the nail on the head, things that I have been trying to encourage in our leadership and worship, require a shift in paradigm, yes and a move away from a model that seemed to have served well in the past.  This may have to do with the fact that we have a nation of unchurched and underdeveloped believers today.  Our nation in the past seemed to have better understood God, and we have taken for granted that it still does.  We see it in our pulpits when we assume guests understand our language, we see it in our worship when we assume that everyone has set their hearts and minds on God.

So my challenge to pastors out there is to guide their Song Directors into becoming Worship Pastors, leading more than a group of people in song, rather leading them in true worship.


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