If you are a worship leader who thought you were just the song picker-outer or band leader, you’ve missed a big chunk of ministry possibility.
Worship Leaders are pastors and shepherds. Pastors are spiritual overseers, caring for those in their congregations and communities. The worship leadership role is really one aspect to being a shepherd for your team. As a shepherd, you are striving to care for and grow both the worship leadership and the church. Here are five ways worship leaders pastor in their context:
Your first role of pastoring and shepherding comes in that micro-mission field called home. Your encounters and relationship with your family will be a huge part of your success in ministry. The way you care for, shepherd, and lead the spiritual aspects of your home will be life changing.
Men need to cherish their wives. Women need to cherish their husbands. Fathers and mothers need to encourage, love, and hug their kids. Prayer needs to be common and comfortable, books need to be read, the Bible needs to be at the center. Listening needs to be the norm.
Without leadership in the home, public ministry is nothing. Frankly, thousands of people can lead worship at your church, but only you can be the dad to your kids or the husband to your wife. Live out your pastoring and shepherd duties at home. For those worship leaders who may not be married, you are still called to shepherd and pastor at home…with neighbors, friends, and family. Do you care for them? Do you help hold them accountable? Do you laugh a lot? Do you know your neighbor’s names?
THE MUSICAL TEAM
You are the band leader or choir director, but you are also their pastor and point of connection! You have the obligation as a pastor to love them, serve them and pray for them. There is a time for intentional worship ministry leadership, delegation, and excellence, but primarily you are their leader.
Your pastor role toward the musicians will come in many forms. If your group is smaller, you will be the main point of contact. As your ministry grows, you may need to help develop the pastoral system for caring for them. Invite them to grow spiritually while growing in their gifts. Always lead with prayer and scripture during rehearsals. Remind them of the mission and vision. Listen to their stories.
FAMILIES OF THE WORSHIP TEAM MEMBERS
Depending on the size of your congregation, you may be the most connected person to the families of worship team members. Be their pastor. Care for them.
I will, after time-consuming big events or big Sundays, sometimes send an email to the spouses of the team members to say “Thanks” for the extra time away that weekend. Know the names of families, spouses and children. Talk with them. Give second-hand compliments to them about how great it is to have their dad or mom on the worship team.
Let them know that life is more than just about doing music and leading at church. We are walking the road of Christian faith together. We’re in this Christ following adventure as a community.
This may seem obvious, but have confidence in it. More than likely, you speak the first word from the front on Sunday. You are shepherding people each week.
Your preparation for Sunday is important, especially to the extent you are able to joyfully and confidently lead the people through your actions and words. Because people see you, they begin to form a bond with you. After a while, people will be coming up and asking you to pray for this or that, letting you know of struggles in their life and more.
There are times when a team approach is needed, and other pastors and staff need to be called in, but there are many times when you can listen and take on their burdens in a pastoral way. You are a leader in your church.
THE SENIOR PASTOR AND STAFF
Have you ever thought about your pastor needing a pastor? Your Senior Pastor needs your grace, your encouragement, your leading and your prayers.
Let your pastor know when the sermon was great. Nudge your pastor with reminders of things you were planning to do. Help lead your pastor by creating a system for planning and accomplishing what needs to be done in ministry for the next few weeks. Ask questions and listen to your pastor. Open the door to conversations about what you can do better in worship leadership. Pray for your pastor and other staff members.
Don’t become obsessed with this role, just trust God to open the doors for a pastoral heart. When a need arises, trust God for the strength and wisdom to stand in the gap as a spiritual leader.
What implications does this has as we are in the midst of a global pandemic? I would love to hear your thoughts!