Worship Leadership: A Dirty Job At Times

One of the most challenging role of a Worship Pastor/Music Minister is serving as a manager/supervisor. As a manager/supervisor I am responsible for everything in my area of ministry. Depending on the size of your ministry team, there is usually tens to hundreds of people under your leadership. Whenever there are people involved in anything, the chances for conflict and disharmony are close behind. When there are musicians involved, the chances are almost certain. We could cover a host of issues as managers/supervisors. This brief article will cover a few duties of conflict management. 

Musicians’ Ego

You would think in the church, conflict should be a non issue. We are Christians and Christians should not fight or struggle with ego and moral issues. We should approach ministry with a servant’s heart… ready to play as part of the team. Right.

No where in the church are egos bigger than in the music department. What we have to do is become the watchdogs if you will. We have to first keep our own egos in check and then watch out for others. In most instances it’s not a conscious thing. There are really only a few people that I have encountered in the ministry who have abrasive egos. When egos pop up, we have to be willing to step in and re-state our purpose and goals. In some cases there may be a parting of the ways. In others there may be a mutual understanding and resolve that only strengthens the team and helps it to grow to higher levels. When egos arise and become a hindrance to our ministries, we have to find loving ways to find resolve. There is no place for egos in worship and the ministry of worship.

Conflict

If you have served in the church for any length of time, you understand that conflict is inevitable. There are personality differences, jealousies, in some cases immoral situations, struggles for leadership, and more. The question is not will it occur, but when will it occur? How we handle each situation will determine how long we will last in ministry. Most musicians are pacifists. We tend to be easy going and laid back. We don’t like to deal with problems and conflict. Just let me make music and I will be alright. Unfortunately, in the church, we don’t have that luxury. We are not only musicians but managers. Fortunately I have the support of my Senior Pastor. He expects me to handle things in a firm and gracious manner. He expects me to step in when conflict arises and do what it takes to get things resolved. It’s not my favorite part of the job but it is a necessary part. 

 

If we keep our focus on the team and Christ, we should be alright. If we continually communicate to our team the purpose of our ministry, we should be alright. If we continually communicate our philosophies of ministry, worship and music in the church, we will help close the door to personal agendas from others. If we have in writing what we expect, we have an understanding from the start for all who wish to join our ministries.

I encourage you to step in and get tough. Not as a dictator, but a loving, caring, firm leader who has to keep order, set direction, plot and maintain the course, and deal with difficult people and situations. I am forced to be the disciplinarian in our various groups. When things go wrong, I am the one who has to step in and address the situation. When someone falls into sin that is dishonoring to God, I am the one who has to confront them and make difficult decisions. When people need a tender nudge, it’s my duty to carry it out. If we fail to address these issues, it only gets worse. The team suffers when we allow disruption to occur from within.

Some Preventive Measures to Conflict

Love your people. Show a genuine interest in them, their families and lives. Spend time with them. When you create a strong team through relationships, it’s harder for the enemy to stand against you. There are no Lone Rangers in ministry. When you cast the vision of what you are trying to do, and you bring the team along side you as you lead, then you will find conflict and egos are mere obstacles in the way and not ministry breakers. They can be dealt with in grace and love with the support of the team and leadership. If you have the best interest of the team at heart, they will become your support if things get difficult.    

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Steve Newman
Stephen M. Newman is the author of Experiencing Worship, A Study of Biblical Worship, and Founder & Editor of ExperiencingWorship.com. Steve currently serves as Pastor of Worship, McKinney Memorial Bible Church, Fort Worth, Texas. Steve has extensive experience in both traditional and contemporary worship styles and has been serving in music and worship capacities since 1982. Steve earned a Bachelor of Music degree with emphasis in Church Music from Oklahoma Baptist University in 1986. He has also earned Master's of Worship Ministry and Doctorate of Worship Ministry from Christian Leadership Seminary, Elma, New York. Used by permission of ExperiencingWorship.

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