By Dwayne Moore
In our first part to this series, we discussed the worship leader’s need of inspection from their pastors. Today we will discuss something that I believe is even more important, and that’s involvement! The pastor needs to be involved with the music or worship or arts ministry. This is very important to the overall success of that ministry.
In 2 Chronicles Chapter 20, verse 21, you may recall that Jehoshaphat instructed the choir as to what to sing.
“And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the LORD and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, ‘Give thanks to the LORD, for his steadfast love endures forever.”
Given the wording, it’s hard to be sure whether Jehoshaphat told them exactly what song to sing. It may be that he gave them more of a general idea of the sort of song he needed. Either way, it can’t be denied that Jehoshaphat got directly involved with the planning of their song in that setting.
Now imagine if you were in that setting. Imagine you were the choir leaders and you had been put out in the front of the army. What if you had been told to march toward the enemy? The enemy, by the way, had swords and spears and were marching toward you to kill you!
What kind of song would you choose if left to your own devices? Let’s be honest, some worship leaders tend to operate more on their feelings than facts, so some might choose a song in that moment based on their fear, based on their concerns. That might not be the song that you as the lead pastor may have chosen. However, I’m doubtful that the choir directors in that moment would have chosen “Praise The Lord For His Mercy Endures Forever” either, yet that was the song Jehoshaphat told them to sing! I wonder, if left to their own choices, they would have made that choice. That is a very upbeat, positive thinking idea: “Praise the Lord, His mercy endures forever.”
As pastor, you know that’s what your people need to be reminded of. As lead pastor, you see the bigger picture. You see that your people need to have their heads raised above their circumstances. To lift up their eyes to the hills from whence comes their help. That is the big picture idea you would want your congregation to be reminded of in that moment of distress and possible destruction.
Be careful not to expect your worship leaders to see the situation in the same way. They may not understand the importance of looking at the “big picture.” After all, they are the ones that are on the front lines. That is why it’s important for you to be involved and give them some general direction to where you believe the service should go. Don’t expect them to read your mind or understand that. They’re not the pastor–you are.
Please let me clarify that I do not mean that you need to pick out every song for them. Do not micromanage them. You don’t have time for that. That’s why you have them on board. You trust them to choose the songs, rehearse the band and the choir, and prepare everyone to lead in the service. That’s their job.
Yet without some kind of direction from you, then they could possibly go in a different direction at times than where you had envisioned the service to go. So, rather than getting upset with them for not understanding what you’re trying to do, communicate it to them in advance. Don’t just let it slide, don’t let it go; be involved in the service.
If you check out mentally, looking at your notes or waiting to walk in late, and if you never give them feedback, then they may assume you expect them to operate on their own devices. Maybe they’ll do the best job that they can with that, but if you want a cohesive and strongly impactful service, then they need to know what your message and emphasis will be for upcoming services!
For example, they need to know the kind of songs you’re hoping they can sing. Are you looking for encouraging, upbeat songs? Are you thinking more introspective songs, songs that are more somber in nature? What is it you are hoping they will do?
I recommend that you meet with them at least once a month, not only to evaluate how things are going, but also to give them direction about where you feel the services should focus and the topics that you’re going to be preaching in the coming weeks.
The further out you can let them know, the more they can plan what they are doing. Keep in mind that they must rehearse. They can’t just throw a song together at the last minute. You wouldn’t want to throw a sermon together last minute, would you? In the same way, they need at least a few weeks advanced notice to practice and prepare a band.
In fact, I encourage you to tell them at least a month in advance so they have ample time to practice and prepare. This will allow them to raise the standard of excellence among their music and to flow better with your message.
Involvement can go a long way toward making the service more impactful and more effective, and it will encourage your worship leaders and let them know that you care what happens in the services.
In our next installment in this series, our third and final article will be on how your worship leader needs your investment!
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