Avoid the trap of entertaining an audience by following these guiding principles for worship pastors—and the tech available to help you.
Over the years, I have seen worship in the modern church evolve. There are many changes to celebrate, but there also are trends that present challenges for worship leaders today. One of these trends is toward high-quality performance…which can sometimes border on entertainment.
A worship leader needs to think like a theologian, labor like an artist, and shepherd like a pastor. To keep these priorities in mind, here are 3 guiding principles for every worship pastor (or any ministry leader!).
3 Guiding Principles for Worship Pastors in the Church Today
1. Serve the whole congregation
Many worship leaders got their start serving a narrow demographic, like a youth group, college ministry, or summer camp—or perhaps even a fan base as a touring band or artist. But in many local church contexts, we face the challenge of leading worship for a multigenerational community.
Selecting songs and service elements that reach a diverse group of people can be a daunting task. We have to become curators of a rich heritage of hymnody, creeds, and prayers, as well as modern considerations such as sound, lighting, multitracks, stage design, and visual media. Rather than making choices based solely on personal preference, we must strive to embrace the best of the old and the best of the new—musically, liturgically, and aesthetically.
Need community to make the road less rocky? Connect virtually with other worship pastors to get their pro tips, learn from their experience, and share encouragement.
2. Make it easy to join in
In a culture that encourages us to be consumers of entertainment, it can be hard to foster robust congregational singing, prayer, and other forms of participation. Some people will choose to observe what is taking place rather than fervently engage. My hope is that people would come to church with a sense of desperation—an awareness of their dependence on God and an eagerness to worship Him.
As leaders, our role is to cultivate this genuine heart of worship by providing relevant and accessible means for everyone to participate. For example, we should choose song keys that are easy for a wide range of people to sing, not simply ones that fit our vocal range most comfortably. Throughout the service, we can weave in Scripture passages to be read aloud together, visible on the screen or on our digital bulletins. As we plan, we should intentionally think through what will serve and engage the congregation most effectively.
3. Support your volunteers
Leading a community of artists and musicians requires time and energy. It is challenging to strike a balance between stewarding our own gifts and celebrating the talents of others. We must bridle our own rock-star ambitions and the ambitions of people on our team; we are not leading worship to make a name for ourselves.
As worship pastors, we are called to celebrate, develop, and serve others. Part of our pastoring involves building relationships over lunch, listening to original songs by team members, and providing opportunities for others to lead. These are important aspects of our shepherding role. Keep reading to find our favorite tech tools to help in this area.
3 TECH TOOLS TO HELP SUPPORT VOLUNTEERS
Consider text messaging a person's most-checked inbox. As a ministry leader, get on board with this mode of communication. Once considered too personal, texting is now as commonplace as chatting at the school pick-up line, and when it’s used to connect with your team, it’s now a must.
Send short videos to your team using the Bonjoro platform. It’s easily integrated with your other apps, and will be a more-personal touch then a simple text or email when conveying emotions are important to your message.
3. Email Automation
Think beyond your church’s visitor email sequence and create email automations for your team. Program birthday wishes and holiday greetings, but also have some templates in the bag, like personal milestone congratulations or get-well messages. All of these simple efforts have a huge impact on morale and team development.Worship pastors and other team leaders: create community within your team by automating basic emails, like birthday wishes, holiday greetings, and personal milestones. Don’t let another important day go unnoticed! Click To Tweet
Worship leaders have the privilege of giving people language to speak to God from their hearts week after week. As we labor, may we be faithful to our rich heritage, relevant to our current context, and pastoral in all things.
Been thinking about producing your own music? Get the details right now at: How To Expertly Produce Music For Worship In Your Home Studio.
This article was adapted from an original piece featured in Ministry Team Magazine.