10. No one is as enamored with your music as you are.
We write a lot of our own songs at the Summit. I think they’re incredible, and I want more of that. I think more worship leaders should be trying their hand at their own stuff, offering it to their congregations as a way of contextualizing and applying the gospel to their context. But it’s easy to buy into your own hype a little too much.
Balance your songs with music from the broader church—both contemporary songs and hymns. And don’t take yourself too seriously. The mission is serious, and we should care deeply about it. But we are servants, and we should think of ourselves rather lightly.
11. Don’t lead for the artists. Lead for the congregation.
Part of your calling and unique gifting is to push and challenge the congregation; that includes in the style and forms of music you use. But remember that you’re likely to be surrounded by more artists than the average Joe in your pew, so what you think is “pushing it a little” will often seem like dramatic and horrific change to many people. Be patient with them, and know that they aren’t trying to stifle your creative spirit.
When I get sick of saying something around the Summit, I find that our people have just heard it. That’s how leadership and vision works. It works the same for music, too. For songs to stick in people’s hearts and minds, they’re going to have to hear them a lot. You’ll get sick of those songs right around the time people start to really ingest them and love them. Stick it out for their sake, and don’t shift too rapidly.
This is probably good advice for a lot of roles. Assume the weaknesses, and notice the strengths. I tend to do the opposite, pointing out other people’s weaknesses and assuming their strengths. Flipping that pattern is a discipline but one that bears a lot of fruit.
My wife is my biggest preaching fan. She knows I don’t always do well, but she also knows that I have other people intentionally critiquing my preaching. So she lets them do it and just “notices the positive.” You should probably assume a similar posture toward your pastor. If he feels like you are his biggest fan, it will be a great long-term relationship. If he senses that you have a long list of ways he could improve things, you aren’t setting anyone up to succeed.13. Don’t sweat the themes too much.
We strive for alignment in our services, but that goal can easily become too all-encompassing. Let the theme of your service or your series serve you, rather than serving it.14. Don’t always ask the pastor what he’s preaching on.
In the spirit of alignment, many worship leaders want to know specifically what the sermon will be about so that they can arrange the worship around it. There’s some merit to this. But as I often tell our worship leaders, “Any sermon that doesn’t end in communion is a bad one.” Charles Spurgeon encouraged preachers to always plow a trough back to the gospel at the end of every sermon. I try to do the same.
The gospel is the power to do whatever the Word commanded, so every sermon should end there. The thing is, not every sermon does end there. This is one way that worship leaders can help their pastors. If he has limited time or doesn’t make the gospel connection abundantly clear, the songs following the sermon can point back to the gospel as the source of power.
That’s all I’ve got for now! What would you add? And which worship leader wants to step up to the challenge to write “What Every Worship Leader Wishes His Pastor Knew”?
This article was written by J.D. Greear and originally appeared at his blog. Find it here.
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