The Pastor As Worship Leader

Note: I’ve been in worship services where someone begins the service by silliness, by making goofball remarks to the choir, by referencing last night’s football game or by teasing some member of the church. But perhaps nothing irks me more than the leader who asks for a response from the congregation—“Isn’t this a beautiful day?” or “Are you glad to be in the Lord’s house today?”—and then fusses at the people for their weak answer. Oh great, I think. We’re starting our worship service by fussing at the Lord’s people.

We can do better than this, people!

4) Let your prayers be well thought out ahead of time.

Not written, of course, but know what you want to say and plan the best way to express it.

Whether the invocation at the beginning or a pastoral prayer inside the service, the minister should not do this off the cuff, making it up as he goes. If he does, it will almost always be shallow, superficial and heavily dependent on cliches.

I have a strong suggestion along that line: Pray the way they did in Scriptures. And, since this is more involved than the rest of these suggestions, we’ll add it on at the end of the article. Some will want to print out that portion and look more deeply into the scriptures cited.

Note: We recall how the Lord’s disciples pointed out that John (the Baptist) taught his disciples how to pray, and they would like Him to show them how. I do not wonder that most church members never ask their pastors to “teach us to pray.” The scattered, shallow, superficial and impromptu things we pastors display under the heading of prayer do not inspire anyone to ask us for direction. That should be treated as an indictment against us pastors and should be remedied post-haste. See the addendum.

5) Plan your ending of the service.

So many pastors let the service fizzle to a conclusion, with him standing there trying to remember additional announcements to be made, afternoon meetings someone needs to be reminded of, or worse, rehashing the sermon. We can do better than this.

The service should end as positively and strongly as it began, preferably on the same theme or even using the identical scripture that was quoted at the top.

6) Early in the next staff meeting, ask for a discussion on the worship service.

What worked best, and what was least effective? What can we do better? Did you hear any comments, positive or negative?

The pastor as worship leader those who did well. A public compliment before one’s peers carries great weight, and usually ranks higher on the appreciation-scale than a private note. However, private handwritten notes are always in order.

7) Staying within your basic order of worship, some variety is almost always appreciated.

Insert a testimony or a brief video. Have the choir enter down the aisle singing the opening call to worship. Interview a member with an interesting story to tell. Put variety into your sermon.

Go online and watch other church’s services, looking for ideas that work for pastor as worship leader.

Note: Do not overdo variety. People get disoriented if they are unable to follow the service and have no idea what you are trying to accomplish or the nature of the theme.


THis article on the pastor as worship leader originally appeared here, and is used by permission.