My heart leapt when I read the theme for this edition of Worship Leader magazine. For one of my life’s greatest privileges has been serving as a worship pastor, and with this responsibility my eyes have been opened to so many different facets of what the job really requires, as opposed to what I imagined it required.
I believe in my heart of hearts that the worship pastor of a team does not have to be the most talented, the most eloquent, the most gifted writer—although to be skillful at your craft is a must. But this role is truly all about care.
The worship pastor must care that people have an understanding of why we worship and not just how we worship; the worship pastor must carry the heart of the church and its leadership tenderly with great respect and unyielding support. The worship pastor must love the team and their families more for who they are and their journey in Christ than for what they do for the church.
Yes, the worship pastor is shepherd first, musician second—a true worshiper, one who leads with skill, wisdom and godly devotion.
I have written my Top Ten teaching thoughts for worship pastors to share with their teams—to give you some absolutes to pass on to those entrusted to your care.
1. The Worship of God Is Holy.
God is not common; hence worship is not a gig, not a right to prove our abilities, not an opportunity to sing our favorite songs. We worship because he is a holy God, and we the created—made for his pleasure—worship and serve the Creator because he alone is worthy.
2. Regarding Excellence
We bring our finest, because we care that our sacrifice is truthful and brought with integrity of heart. The first fight in the Bible was about a worship offering (Gen 4), and to this day, people bicker and disagree about what is genuine worship. No matter how we present our worship, only God knows the true intent of our pursuit of him. And it is in the authentic pursuit of him that we find excellence in worship.
3. Authentic Lives of Worship
We train in so many things consistently, but nothing can replace each individual’s commitment to an authentic life as a worshiper. So that when your inner life is revealed, what is seen and what is unseen by humans is one and the same.
Bill Hybels wrote a great book called Who You Are When No One’s looking. Work at making sure that you are one person: the person we publicly know, and the person God privately knows.
4. Serve the Lord With Gladness (Ps 100).
Gladness is not just an emotion; gladness is a byproduct of joy, which is substance, a fruit of the spirit. You can literally live on it. Joy puts others at rest.
“He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart” (Eccl 5:20).
5. Worship Is Not Just a Lifestyle.
Worship is our life’s response to the grandeur and magnificence of our God. Worship as a lifestyle sounds like we would treat the Cross of Christ casually. But our ability to enter his courts and live in his presence actually cost God his all—for us. Never treat his worship as a lifestyle option.