What if you knew 24 ways you could help your worship leader succeed?
Would that make a difference for your congregation every weekend? In your relationship with your worship leader? In your worship leader’s life?
Yes. Yes. And again, yes.
The most important staff relationship in most churches is between the Lead Pastor and the Worship Leader. I know there is cause for friction; I’ve felt it. The artist’s temperament rules. The work load is heavy. The criticism can be constant. From everyone, including you.
What if your worship leader’s success shifted away from his or her current shortcomings, and toward your mindfulness of how you lead the creatives on your team?
What if you could lead your worship leader in a way that helps him perform at his highest level?
This list of 24 ways you can catalyze your worship leader’s success looks at the Pastor/Worship Leader dynamic from the both sides of the field:
- from the lead pastor’s perspective,
- from the worship leader’s perspective.
Take a minute to ask God to speak to you right now if you face challenges in this area. Then, read on…
Ten Practices for leading Worship Leaders – from the Lead Pastor’s Perspective
1. Be clear about who is in charge.
The Lead Pastor is the lead worshiper. It is your job to clearly outline your hopes, expectations and desired style of service to the Worship Leader before the Worship Leader is hired.
2. Friends work together better than colleagues.
The Worship Leader should be one of the Lead Pastor’s closest friends, no matter how large the church. If your worship leader is a woman, then your families are friends.
3. Good worship flows from a nourished soul.
Encourage your worship leader to keep his spiritual-tank full.
There will be peaks to the worship leader’s schedule – like Christmas, Easter, and other signature events in the church. No one can keep their tank completely topped off twelve months out of the year, but the Worship Leader must refill and refuel following intense seasons of activity.
4. Give him/her plenty of time to plan.
Give your Worship Leader your preaching calendar at least three months in advance; and your message title, purpose, and passage at least three weeks in advance.
5. Get together regularly.
If you only meet when there’s a problem, you will train your Worship Leader that getting together with you is a negative experience. Meet to celebrate, pray, plan and/or have fun together.
6. Save all negative criticism until Tuesday.
Worship Leaders are artists. Artists have tender souls. They are particularly vulnerable on Sunday and Monday. Save your negative feedback for Tuesday or later in the week.
7. Make sure your Worship Leader has a team.
No one should do ministry alone. If your artist is an introvert, recruit the team for him/her. Be on that team yourself for at least a year to make sure it’s a healthy team.
8. Feed the artist’s soul.
Provide opportunities to attend Worship Conferences, mainstream music concerts, plays, musicals, and other dramatic arts performances.
9. Make sure they have the tools they need.
Churches usually supply drums and keyboards and ask musicians to bring their own guitars and other instruments. The church’s main Worship Leader should have a budget for downloading new worship songs, a CCLI and CCLX license, and the audio and projection equipment needed to enable an excellent worship environment.
10. Encourage him/her to visit high-impact churches while on vacation.
Good art is better caught than taught. Every Worship Leader should witness and experience great worship on the Sundays they aren’t leading worship.
15 Ways to Lead your Worship Leader Well – from the Worship Leader’s Perspective
My son, Bryan, is the worship leader at the Oceanside campus of New Song. He carries the weight of the position lightly and successfully.
Here is Bryan’s take on how Lead Pastors can help their Worship Leaders perform at their highest level.
1. Thank and encourage them often.
Weekly, or more, even.
You know how much you appreciate words of affirmation after you preach. Your worship leader feels the same way.
Every single weekend, thank him for his ministry and affirm what was meaningful to you. Just like you would want to be treated.
Thar’s the first and biggest step.
2. Ask for their input and then use it.
Tell your worship leader what you’re thinking for the service and ask her what she thinks about it. She’ll feel good to give you her input, and then to see your creative partnership bless your church that weekend.
3. Have them show you something that moves them.
Ask your worship leader: what have you been exposed to recently that moved you into God’s presence? What videos? What songs have you heard?
Listen and enter in to what he shows you.
4. Find something in common that is not ministry-related.
Common experience builds depth in a friendship. Friendship makes better ministry partners.
Talk about the sports team or the new restaurant down the street or how the kids are doing.
5. Pray for them.
Every day is not too much.
6. Give them credit for things that they were involved in, even if you did most of the work.
You may have found the video. Or the new team member. Or had the creative idea. But your worship leader gets all the credit when he pulls it off.
7. Tell them about the value that corporate worship, arts, and the worship ministry, brings to the overall mission of the church.
Weekend services can be routine. It happens every week. It looks the basically the same.
Vision slips away.
But if you communicate to your worship leader the difference her work makes to people, to your church’s vitality, to the kingdom, she will be inspired to do more and better.
8. Describe to them your specific vision for your worship ministries.
If you have a specific vision for your worship ministries, please describe it to them. They can’t do what you want unless they know what you want.
9. Be clear about your expectations and their responsibilities.
Every staff member should have a written job description that details their responsibilities.
Keep talking about your expectations, what you like to see, and keep it on a positive note.
10. Call them to a higher spiritual commitment. Constantly.
Push them to want more of God.
In my experience, this can only happen if I want more of God.
11. Push them to desire deeper worship from the congregation.
Push them to develop the kind of worshipers the Father is seeking.
“…when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. ” John 4:23 ESV
It’s easy for a worship leader to get in the routine of music and mechanics, and if they do that, your services will get dry. Keep them wanting more of God’s presence in your church.
12. Further their education.
It will benefit your church as it benefits them.
Our church couldn’t afford to pay for Bryan’s master’s degree, but we were able to pay for his final semester, and we were able to give him an eight-week Sabbatical to complete his coursework.
If you can’t do everything, do what you can.
13. Keep an eye out for resources they need.
Human. Financial. Hand me downs from other churches…
The more you can partner in finding resources for corporate worship, they more your worship leader will feel the love and strive to do their best.
14. Seek to keep their spirits high.
Make work fun. Keep the importance of the job and their ability to succeed high.
You will catalyze your Worship Leader’s success with steady doses of time, appreciation, support, fun, clarity, equipping, vision, resources, and challenge.
How is the Holy Spirit leading you to shift your expectations off your Worship Leader’s shoulders and onto your own? What do you want to do differently as you lead your Worship Leader?
You might be interested to know that you can learn much more about your worship planning in my Healthy Church System ebook:
This post was originally published on 2.16.16 and updated on 4.11.18.
Start Here to learn more about the resources available for you at PastorMentor.