Seven Things Worship Leaders Wished Their Senior Pastor Knew…
I did this post on Tuesday…and in it said that Lee would be doing a post in response next week…well…he did one this week and I am posting it here. Thanks Lee!!!
I’m certainly not an expert in leadership or the mystery that is God’s Church, but here is my take on what Senior Pastors should know from a worship leader’s perspective.
#1 - Have an enormous, God-sized vision.
Any worship leader worth having wants to be a part of something greater than himself. Trust me, if you have a huge, compelling vision, you won’t have to break the bank to hire someone truly gifted. Case in point: when we started interviewing Justin Land to come on board as an associate worship leader, he told us that he loved the vision of our church so much that he and Rachel were moving here from Missouri to get involved regardless of the job offer. That’s a strong vision.
#2 - Take a risk with the finances. pay for talent.
When i was hired in 2000, Perry and the elders were taking a big financial risk. They told me that they felt convicted that God would provide and that i would need to spend all my time focusing on the needs of the church. one thing they said was that any good staff member should pay for themselves in 3 to 6 months.
#3 - Set the example. Be a person worthy of authority.
Let me put it this way: if you are lazy, expect laziness from your staff. If you aren’t passionately in love with God, expect moral failure and disunity in your staff. Perry won’t broadcast this, but ever since i have known him, he gets up at 5am or earlier, spends an hour or two with God, and then spends hour or two in the gym. And then he hits the office. So, when i go into a meeting and he tells me something i don’t really agree with, i keep my mouth shut and i listen before i say anything in response; i know he walks with God and i have tremendous respect for that. It’s much easier to follow a leader who is more disciplined than you. If you want a humble staff, be humble. if you want a staff that is anything… you must be that, first. your staff will reflect your own character. so, if your staff is lazy, doesn’t value excellence, or is disconnected from culture, look no further than your own mirror for the reason why. Everything rises and falls on leadership. Be a Proverbs 15:33 leader.
#4 - Prepare. Value excellence.
Like Tony Morgan the Wise says, “time is the most valuable commodity.” Preparation buys you tons of it. You will not get the best work out of your creative people if you are preparing your messages week-of. try planning your series out 6 months in advance and your messages 3 weeks in advance, and watch your creativity level soar. I really believe that you can hear the Holy Spirit better if you give him more than 2 days to help you prepare a message.
#5 - Allow your worship leader room for creative failure.
You hired a musically creative person. Hopefully, if they’re worth the money you’re spending on them, they will be better at being a worship leader than you are. So, you should give them some room to experiment and be creative. Sometimes, i get about 10 steps ahead of our people. It’s the job of the senior pastor to know his people and what will reach them the best. If you’re doing this well, you’ll probably have to hold your creative people back a little. This causes tension, but it’s healthy!
#6 - Move your worship leader to his area of strength
One of the things i’m most thankful for is that several years ago, Perry allowed me the opportunity (at my request) to step down from the senior management team to focus on being more of a musical director in the creative arts area. I’m a musician to the core, and am not a gifted manager. As a senior pastor, you may find that your worship leader hates management. find an awesome manager for your Sunday morning experience, and let your worship leader be what God has called him to be. This is a good concept for your staff as a whole. If you are passionate about putting people in their sweet spot, you’ll get joyful, world class work from gifted people.
#7 - Value the personal life of your worship leader.
Your worship leader is a very visible part of your church. if he fails morally, it will dramatically hurt the church. when i was hired (when we only had 100 people coming every week), Perry told me that my family would be my first ministry, and that for as long as i was a staff member, NewSpring would do whatever it takes to make God, then family, the priority of my life. Perry’s always been there for me as a friend. God’s in command of my career, but i would consider it the highest honor to serve NewSpring Church for the rest of my life.
I know i’ve been pumping Perry up a lot, but Perry would freely admit that he’s not the perfect leader. The only person who can claim that title is Jesus. In seven years of ministry, though, Perry’s character has remained true. and I’ve watched him go through absolute hell on earth. From time to time, worship leader friends of mine will ask me what i think of a church that has just offered them a job. My response is always contingent on the character of the senior pastor.
Pastors, you have a dangerous and high calling. if you think planting a church is just a fun idea, you’re out of your mind. If you aren’t called to do it, you should do something else… anything else. God doesn’t need you to do his work for him.
Well said Lee!!!