Advising Worship Leaders

This is another post in a series I’m doing of questions that some of you asked. If you would like to add your question, go here and do so.

Today’s question is from Jeff Patterson. Jeff and I go to seminary together at Multnomah. Be sure to check out his blog. He asked:

1. What do pastoral leaders who have input on the music worship plan formation each week need to know about working with their worship leaders?

I would begin by saying that a pastor who plans and prepares weeks and even months ahead is SO much easier to work with than the pastor who throws something together the Friday and Saturday before a Sunday morning church gathering.

There is a fine line between the pastor who dictates how things are going to go and the pastor who doesn’t involve himself in the planning process at all. Each of those poles are hard to work with and each pastor should figure out which pole they tend to stray toward and move towards the other a little.

I think lead pastors who are involved in the flow of a weekend gathering is a wonderful thing. If you think of a gathering as a story, the importance of connecting the various elements is incredibly key. Some pastors are great at this, most of them are terrible at it. While I don’t want a lead pastor doing my job of leading the worship and music time, I also enjoy working with someone who can transition in and out of various elements.

Jeff also asked:

2. How would you advise a young worship leader to deal with his or her pastoral leaders?

A few things come to mind for me:

Be a sponge. It is easy to be critical of the senior leaders of a church because there are undoubtedly a lot of things to disagree on, but each pastor has been involved in church ministry much longer and there is much to learn from.

Take a stand. No one likes to work with a mindless robot. Everyone has an opinion and a voice. Don’t just let them run the show.

Be a friend. Depending on how your church is structured this might be more difficult to do. Part of this is a strategy knowing that it is much easier to work with a friend instead of a boss, but I truly believe work is much more enjoyable when you work with people you care about. Go out to coffee with them, invite them over for dinner, include them in random activities.

How would you answer these questions?