Is there uneasiness and friction between members of your staff? Good people act badly when confronted with negative interaction they don’t understand, and it’s common for people to project unspoken, unintended messages that add to the problem. An objective third party can bridge the gap between divergent personalities and perspectives.
The relationship between senior pastor and worship leader can be particularly challenging. No two roles are more influential in defining the personality of a congregation; both positions invite celebrity status and all the pressures that come with it. As well, they are opposite in temperament, with very different perceptions and priorities. Often, there isn’t enough common ground between them to form a dynamic ministry relationship.
Each member of your team brings both brilliance and baggage. An outside perspective can reveal what’s behind interpersonal stress and help defuse hidden relational land mines. In 30 years of ministry, I’ve had the opportunity to experience all sides of leadership issues, and I can help.
Take a look at this scenario common to the experiences of church staff.
The Spoken Word and Worship in the 21st Century Church
Over the past half-century, evangelicals have taught their leaders to effectively prepare and present creative, challenging, doctrinally sound messages. Praise God, there is great success there. But there’s a problem: the body of Christ is starved for authentic, life-changing worship. The praise teams are excellent and the songs powerful, but the people don’t know how to engage.
We’ve taught our people to pray, to tithe, to study the Bible and spend time with God; we’ve taught them how much God loves them, and the benefits of Godly living; we’ve given them Biblical principles for a good marriage and financial success. We’ve warned against worshiping the idols of our secular culture, but we’ve not taught how to worship God.
We notice that people don’t engage with more than a few songs, so it’s no wonder we gravitate toward longer messages and shorter worship sets. But could it be that they don’t know the immense value God places upon their praise, and how much they need to offer it?
Praise God for the power of the pulpit! Let’s seek God for the wisdom to release the power of praise.
Worship and the Senior Pastor
When church decides to change the way they do worship, the senior pastor needs to lead the way; his knowledge and attitudes are what the congregation will value and follow. Others can share in the teaching, but he must validate every aspect of the change.
Often pastors will leave this responsibility to the worship leader and stay out of the process. This leaves the congregation confused and anxious, and they resist the example that the worship leader and team are presenting. This, in turn, causes the worship team to lose confidence and falter; it takes courage to lead where others are hesitant to follow. In time, any attempt to establish a new direction will fail, and the worship leader will bear the brunt of the blame.
Worship style is always an issue, but it can be a positive issue when the senior pastor cultivates the vision for worship in his church.