7 More Things Pastors Wish Their Worship Leaders Knew
7. Truth matters more than tunes, but that doesn’t mean we should sing great theology to bad melodies or accompaniment. Choose songs the congregation enjoys singing and can sing. Occasionally try changing the arrangement, tempo or feel of a song so the congregation can hear the lyrics in a fresh way.
8. Keys that serve the congregation take priority over keys that make you sound good (Phil. 2:3-4). We don’t come primarily to listen to you sing, but to lift up our own voices. If you have to sing higher, try occasionally adding fills that heighten the impact and meaning of the lyrics we’re singing. Congregations get weary if they have to sing a lot of high Ds and Es. If we’re singing F#s they’ll probably drop an octave or faint.
9. Don’t teach us so many new songs that we never learn them and so few new songs that we fail to benefit from them. Learning about two songs every three months is doable. Learning four songs a month isn’t. We have access to more songs more immediately than any time in history. Teach us the ones that we will feed our souls for more than a few weeks. If your aim is to serve us, you won’t have to try to impress us.
10. Blaming sin on being an artist/musician doesn’t make it any less sinful. Moodiness, over-sensitivity, procrastination, pride, irresponsibility and laziness aren’t due to having a certain temperament but to indwelling sin. Getting to know non-musicians in the church can provide perspective and encouragement. If there’s anything in your life that might hinder or disqualify you from serving in your role, please let me know. I want to help you.
11. Your goal in leading isn’t performing but pastoring and participation. If the people in the church generally aren’t singing, you’re performing, not leading congregational worship. Your job isn’t done just because you practiced. People have to actually sing. Leading with your eyes open most of the time will communicate your care and help you gauge how people are responding.
12. You’re not the Holy Spirit, but you can depend on Him. Music can’t open the eyes of our hearts, illumine our minds and change our lives. But God’s Spirit can. You don’t have to tell us to “sing louder” or “sing it like you mean it” or exhort us with “C’mon!” Give us doctrinal fuel for our emotional fire and trust the Spirit will do the rest. When you spend time in prayer asking God to empower what you do, you’ll lead more often with a humble confidence that is easy to follow.
13. Ultimately, Christ is our worship leader, not me or you (Heb. 2:11-12, 8:1-2). You don’t have to bring us into the throne room. Christ has already done that (Heb. 10:19-22). You don’t have to feel pressure or be anxious about leading us. Christ perfects all our offerings (1 Pet. 2:5)! The more you point us to what Christ has done and is doing for us, the less we’ll see you and the more we’ll benefit from the ways God has gifted you.
If you’re a pastor and identify with some or many of these points, don’t keep it to yourself. More importantly, take your musical leader out for a meal and express your appreciation in specific ways. Then talk about what could be better. Who knows what God might do?
What would you add to this list of what pastors wish their worship leaders knew?