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Qualifications of A Worship Pastor

We hear terms like “worship leader”, “music minister”, and “worship pastor” often in the roles we walk. Being involved in worship – it is a common place. What does it mean? We have spent a couple of days looking at both the differences between a worship leader and a worship pastor as well as determining what a worship pastor is not – now it is time to get down to the basics of what the composition of a worship pastor should be.

I believe that a worship pastor should hold to the requirements set forth in Timothy (1 Timothy 3:1-7) and Titus.  These bullet points have been repeated and recited over the years – but I want to refocus them in our time as they should pertain to a worship pastor’s life.

1.  Above reproach :

This one seems to be a hard one to understand…especially since other translations say “blameless”.  Who can be blameless?  Don’t we all sin?  The point of being above reproach is not to be perfect, but to not have “hidden” items of reoccurring sin in our lives.  Do I suffer from a pornography addiction?  If so, then I am not above reproach.

Simply put – if I am a worship pastor – and have a congregation under my care…and have a dirty little skeleton that I abuse my wife physically…then imagine the let down of those who fall under my leadership when that “dirty little secret” surfaces.

Being “above reproach” involves knowing that your life as a worship pastor far exceeds what people see of you on a given Sunday.  The least important of your duties becomes what happens on Sunday while the most important duties become what happens once you are off the stage and away from a microphone.

2.  Husband of one wife :

I will rattle cages here – but I will speak only after years of testing the Spirit otherwise.  Can a man be divorced and be a pastor or does this requirement disqualify him?  The answer lies in whether or not the man is currently married to “but one wife” or not.  In the first century, it was highly common for a man to have more than one wife.  The practice was even older than the time of Timothy’s writing.  When Paul wrote 1 Timothy, he was being very clear that a pastor should not have multiple wives.

Somehow along the way, we have turned this into mean one simple thing :  if you are divorced – you cannot be a pastor.  In contrast, if a person had murdered someone in the past and raped but has since repented of his sins – he could be a pastor provided he meets the remaining requirements.  In simple logic – this would mean that we have somehow found the one sin that God will not forgive of…divorce.  Doesn’t seem to pass the common sense test – yet many well-meaning churches place this stigma and wrong application to Timothy and Titus on a daily basis.

In fact, the original words used in both Timothy and Titus in the original writing language to depict “the husband of one wife” is not at all like the wording used for “divorced” – even though the word is used elsewhere in the Bible.  If the intention was divorce, then the writer would have been clear to call out “not divorced.”

3. Soberminded – Self-control :

Level headed is the best way to define this.  This is the one that I, as I readily admit, I come closest to crossing the line with.  Do you have a cool head or are you short tempered?  No – not what others see of you…but how do you manage yourself when no one but your family sees you?

4. Respectable, Hospitable,and Able to teach :

Respectable and hospitable should come with the territory- a worship pastor should not appear warm and friendly on a stage yet be stand-offish when approached in his day-to-day life.  Likewise, a worship pastor should not act in one regard of kindness to his fellow congregants and act to a different degree to those outside of his church.  He should remain respectable and hospitable in all regards.

A worship pastor should be able to teach others.  He should be knowledgeable in the area in which he serves.  He should know why he is leading worship – what worship is – the theology of worship – the lituragy – and should be able to impart these things in others so that they can understand more than simply a new song.

5.  Not a drunkard :

Here is another of those areas we will make waves.  Can a worship pastor drink?  Absolutely.  I have in my household at this very moment two bottles of wine and probably some other assorted tonics.  I am not a drunkard.  I do not allow myself to become so inebriated that I cannot function nor make a spectacle of myself.  Many churches will take the stance that a pastor should not drink period.  I think that this is taking a much different approach at the Bible that what was intended in the first place.

Still, today, we have varying views.  Is it wrong for me to go out to a restaurant and drink?  No – again, as long as I do not become a drunkard – but I will readily tell you that I do not drink publicly and I will readily defend why I do not.  As believers, we can readily discuss the differences between which alcohol had more “potency” – the wine of our time or the wine of Jesus’ time.  We can readily discuss how Jesus turned water into wine for his own mother.  We can discuss how the verbage is not “thou shalt not drink” but, rather, “not a drunkard” …. and we can do all of this as fellow believers.

Non believers and new believers generally, however, have one notion:  “Doesn’t the Bible say you’re not supposed to drink?  And you’re a pastor!?! While, yes, we can take the time to explain the differences at the right time – but we may not know when that “right time” is.  Allow me to explain:

I am at a restaurant with my wife.  We order dinner and each of us have a glass of wine.  The waiter brings out the bottle and sits it on the table.  It would become very obvious to anyone sitting around us that we are drinking wine.  A couple nearby notices the bottle and asks the waiter if it is a good wine.  They order a bottle of the same.

Fast forward to the next Sunday.  I am leading worship.  In the congregation is a new family – in church for the first time.  They recognize me.  “Isn’t that the guy in the restaurant we saw the other night?”  “Yeah, wasnt he the one that we saw with the wine?  I didn’t think church people were supposed to drink?” … my “genuine” factor is already decreasing.  Yes…I know I’m veering here – but it is entirely plausible.

The bottom line is this – I don’t drink publicly because I do not want anyone to have any distractions who may come to worship for the first time because of their own limited knowledge of the Word and how it relates to partaking of alcohol.

6. Not violent but gentle, Not quarrelsome :

In a worship team…or any church congregation – there will be arguments.  A worship pastor with a short fuse would come closer to fighting than trying to resolve the conflict at hand.  A good worship pastor should be slow to judge, gentle in his actions, but firm in his decisions.

7. not a lover of money :

…which will become obvious based on the average pay.  No – seriously – I say this in jest, however a worship pastor must have a motivation to do his job because of his calling and not because of the amount of money it pays.  A worship pastor should have the attitude that he would do so out of calling if no budget were available.  He should also be financially responsible.  Since, in most cases, he will responsible for (at least) a portion of the budget – the way he handles spending in his home life may very well depict the type steward he will be with the church’s money.

8.  Leads family :

Yes – this is paraphrasing.  A pastor should be a good husband and father.  If he cannot tend to his own family…how can he be entrusted to shepherd God’s family?

9.  Not a recent convert and well thought of by others

A new believer still has lots of spiritual maturing to do.  It is important to not rush to grab up new converts who can sing and play guitar/piano to fill roles without first establishing spiritual maturity.  Likewise, the worship pastor selected should be well thought of by others – not just those within the congregation…but those outside as well.

What are your thought?  What qualities make a good worship pastor to you?  I’d love to hear from you.  Drop us a line below in the comments section.

3 thoughts on “Qualifications of A Worship Pastor”

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  3. Dr. Elizabeth Raky says:

    I enjoyed your comments about being a Worship Leader. My husband and I agree and we have concerns about our worship Leader. We observe him from Sunday to Sunday and the only people he and his lovely wife talk to seem to be the ones that can help in their ministry. His wife will approach some of the older members of the congregation; yet, they never approach us to say “hello”, give hugs, ,etc. The worship Leader has actually called our home on several occasions to tell my sweet husband “not to sing loud”, etc. In other words, he wants my sweet husband to bury his talent and not use it for the Lord. My husband has never been asked to read Scripture or join the men’s chorus or men’s trio when the occasion is needed (which is not that often). We have also not been asked to join the mixed chorus when the Worship Leader feels there is a need. The weekly choir was abolished several years ago and my husband and I were members of the choir for years. My husband has a beautiful, powerful Helden tenor voice and the Lord has blessed him with a desire to use his talent for the Lord’s glory. We receive no support from the Pastor and the issue has been brought to the attention of the Worship Leader but to no avail. Our only consolation is that on Judgement Day the Lord will address this and the Worship Leader will have a lot to answer for in the way he has treated other believes in the “name of the Lord.” We are hurt about not being able to serve the Lord in the We have always kept ourselves beyond reproach and do not have divorce in our background. There is no reason why we cannot serve the Lord except the Worship Leader must have an envious spirit regarding my husband’s talents; hence, not using him. This is the only reason we can think of and the harder we pray for him the harder his heart seems to become. Thank you for allowing me to share my heart. Blessings on your ministry and may it continue to glorify the Lord. Deo Soli Gloria!

    1. Jason Whitehorn says:

      Dr. Raky,

      First, let me say that I am sorry that you and your husband are having a difficult time. One of the key objectives of worship leaders and worship pastors is to remove distractions from within a worship setting. We want people to engage. I understand hurt of felling like full community isn’t “engaged”.

      May I make a strong suggestion? I have seen many situations similar to this create a feeling of disunity. More often than not, though – we don’t seek out to resolve on our own. Matthew 18 gives us a great approach to this. Have you gone PERSONALLY to the worship leader to address fully the issue you have? I know you mentioned he has been made aware…but has he been made aware by you personally? Many times, this is the best key to moving forward we have. I have had times in the past where I have failed to follow this guideline – and the festering I did was remarkably unhealthy. I THOUGHT I was communicating properly by having the situation handled by someone else that I went to with the problem…but bringing a third party in without resolving it MYSELF is called “triangulating”. It isn’t near as effective.

      Try, if you would, having you and your husband invite the worship leader for a lunch and lovingly tell him your concerns. You may find that he hasn’t realized the amount of damage to feelings his approach has caused, and give him an opportunity to repair the relationships. It may be the most healthy ting you can do for him…and for yourself.

      Blessings,

      Jason

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