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Friday, April 3, 2009

A Charge to Worship Leaders

As someone involved in worship leading, I'm always trying to better understand the role worship leaders play in the church. In my first year of college I did a lot of research on the role worship plays in the church and you can read about it by downloading the Worship Chapter of We Who Have Ears.

Sometimes I can't help but feel like the role of the worship leader in a church is not much more than the leader of pep-rally before a big game. Worship leaders are usually not expected to be involved in the scriptural shepherding of the congregation and generally do not have much pastoral connection with the congregation apart from the Sunday services.

I understand that each person in the church has their role and that the worship leader is not the same as the teaching pastor or pastor of counseling. At the same time, I think many worship leaders have forgotten that their first responsibility, like any other person in leadership in the church, is shepherding the congregation.

I know as a worship leader I have been guilty of putting the music planning and service flow before other responsibilities. Many times, I didn't even consider things like discipleship and scriptural shepherding as my responsibility. They were just added bonuses if I had time to get around to them.

The more I experience the church and the way it functions, I think that worship leaders, in an attempt to free them up to perfect the music and flow of the service, have been marginalized to a role that is much smaller than it was intended to be. Why aren't worship leaders active in discipling? Why aren't we active in teaching? Why aren't we active in counseling members of the congregation? Why aren't we expected to understand the Bible in a way most other pastors are expected to understand it?

I want to challenge my fellow worship leaders to see their role in a new and bigger light. We are not just band leaders and our main responsibility isn't to the music or the service flow or even the other band members, choir members, and orchestra members. Our main responsibility is to shepherd the flock and build the spiritual depth of our community.


Jared said...

how fateful to stumble across such a thoughtful charge. i appreciate your unwillingness to relegate worship leaders to their own class of pastor, and am excited with you to see the church birth a more holistic approach to what it means to live together in community.

thanks for the post.

Karis said...

You nailed it brother. One of the worst consequences that I have seen within worship ministries where the worship leader is not focused on spiritual shepherding, but on music and service flow is that the worship ministry can become filled with primaddonas and controlling personalities. The musicians, in an effort to have excellence in music and services, cannot help but become focused on performance. This breeds selfishness. When the focus shifts to the musicians and the worship leader bieng the spiritual gatekeepers in the sanctuary of God, then the attitude becomes one of servanthood and humbly pointing others to the wonder of God.

Love you bro.