I was never passionate about becoming a worship pastor, but I was passionate about becoming a pastor.
So when our pastoral staff decided to restart our church’s focus with a blank page, I honestly had no idea where we would land. If I still had a job, I wasn’t sure what I would be doing.
We had grown overwhelmed with the busyness of the church calendar and were honestly unsure concerning the effectiveness of our activity. We were busy with good things but we were not confident if they were the best things. Somewhere in the process, we decided to simplify all that we did around equipping our people to live lifestyles of worship, discipleship, and mission. At that retreat, the responsibility of all our worship services were handed to me.
I became the worship pastor on paper.
It wasn’t till many months later that I became the worship pastor in reality though. In the transitioning months, I was charged with overseeing all worship elements from cradle to the grave. I had a lot to learn. There were numerous things going well. I found myself celebrating so many parts of what was going on through the worship environments of our church.
I also realized some challenges looming ahead. Some of them were easy fixes and some of them were going to be long ordeals. Overwhelmed with the amount of potential present, I struggled to discern which hills needed to be crossed and which ones would I need to die upon.
If It Ain’t Broke…
One of my greatest challenges was dealing with perception versus reality. So much of what I saw was good. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? That type of mentality has two issues though:
- It may not be broke now, but it might be in the process of breaking.
- It may not be broke, but it might not be currently utilized at full potential.
The group of volunteer worship leaders I inherited was stellar. Not only were they remarkably gifted, they were extremely humble and godly. Any worship pastor would have died to have the quality of people who I had leading alongside me.
My greatest temptation was leaving them alone as they were.
The Pastoring Side of a Worship Pastor
They were so quality, what could I show them? Not only was I younger than everyone on the team, but I felt the least qualified and the least talented of the entire group. My intention was to keep things just as they were and not disrupt something so good.
There was only one problem: I was called to be a pastor.
Like stated earlier, I was never passionate about becoming a worship pastor. I don’t say that because I devalue the position or the tasks associated with it. That could not be further from the truth.
I am passionate about worship. I love the musical side of things. I cherish the gathering of the entire church body. Worship is an integral part of the church, but it is not listed in the job descriptions in the New Testament. Pastoring is listed, but not worship pastoring.
Before I was asked by our elders to serve as a worship pastor, I was called by God to serve as a pastor.
As a pastor, I am called to:
- Equip the saints for the work of ministry (Eph. 4:12)
- Shepherd the flock among me (1 Pet. 5:2)
- Feed with knowledge and understanding (Jer. 3:15)
- Provide order for the church body (Titus 1:5)
- Watch over their souls (Heb. 13:17)
- Bear the weight of teaching (James 3:1)
- Maintain sound doctrine (Titus 2:1)
- And so much more…
Develop Services or Develop Disciples?
I had to choose if I was going to spend my time developing services or developing disciples.
At some point, I decided to go with the latter. I realized that if this great group of disciples could turn into a great group of disciple-makers, the church would change. I wanted to challenge, equip, and disciple our worship leaders.
Even while I didn’t know all of the implications, I at least realized the need. I didn’t have a map, but I did have a direction. As I tried to talk myself out from leading in this direction, I struggled concerning my own inabilities. If I jump ahead of the pack and tell others to follow me, the scrutiny would increase. The potential of tension would escalate. Will I ever be able to tell them to imitate me as I imitate Christ (1 Cor. 11:1)? With a false sense of humility, I considered maintaining the status quo and not meddling in discipleship within the context of worship ministry.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t rest there. Preparing to lead worship one Sunday morning, I had this nagging thought that would not leave my mind:
It’s not humility if I don’t lead them where we need to go – it’s negligence.
For the worshipers in our congregation and the worship team under my leadership, my negligence would affect more than just me. The following years would reveal many realities:
- People desire to be led
- People need to desire the destination in order to endure the journey
- Those leading will grow just as much as those following
- God can do so much even when we offer so little
My lack of intentionality was convicting. I confessed to the team that I had not been faithful to God’s charge on my life and things had to change. We were going to grow. We were going to mature. We were going to raise the bar in every way possible.
During that time and even currently as I make plans for our team, one question nags me incessantly:
If they follow my lead, where will they end up?
If you are a worship pastor or part of the worship team at your church, I encourage you to pray how your team of worship leaders can grow in the coming year. Where are the areas of opportunity? Where is the need to challenge? If your team and offerings are perfect, no worries. But if there is room to develop, which way are you heading?