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What’s A Worship Pastor?

It’s a question often asked – “what is a worship pastor?”  Yesterday, we talked about a main difference between a worship leader and a worship pastor.  Today, we will dive in deeper into what makes up the composition of a worship pastor.

Honestly, to begin this conversation, we have to first look at what a worship pastor – or a worship leader is not.  Regrettably, it is the box that we attempt to stuff many well-intending people in each Sunday across the globe.  There is a trend across the country for churches to switch gears and move toward a more “youthful” or “modern” type of worship service.  Perhaps they already have a more traditional service and want to give their service a “spruce up”.  It doesn’t take long for their idea of that “perfect worship leader” to emerge.

You’ve seen him before…

  • faux hawk haircut
  • amazing sounding Taylor guitar or some rustic/vintage looking acoustic
  • a voice fresh off of a Hillsong United CD
  • a man who is perfectly from the United States and never travelled outside the US…but somehow manages to sing most of his words as if he is British.

Okay, so I’m taking some comical relief with this – but you get my point.  Leadership finds this type person who fits a style and rushes to place them in a position of leadership as a worship leader or worship pastor.  The problem comes when more attention is placed on their skill than heart – or that their heart is attributed to their skill or willingness to serve each Sunday only.

Some of these pseudo-worship leaders aren’t vetted by their personal lives.  In some cases, whether or not the “leader” is a member of the church is not even a consideration.  Throughout the years, I have seen cases of instant-worship leaders where the worship leader became convicted from stage to attend the alter-call…because he was not previously saved and the church he was serving at had not considered it for the 5 months he was serving.  Talk about a bit of a shock to the congregation!

It is scary business raising up leaders based on skill alone.  What we create is more a generation of musicians playing worship music than people pursuing God and helping others engage.  Don’t get me wrong – God can use those talents in a very profitable way in worship.  Worship services under such leadership can be very enriching.

What we need to understand is that there is a difference in heart and skill.  Look at Psalm 78:72 – the psalmist describes David in a powerful way:

72With(A) upright heart he shepherded them
and(B) guided them with his skillful hand.

David shepherded his people with an “upright heart” and guided them with a “skillful hand”.  Could he have been just skillful?  Could he have simply had heart?  I sincerely think that it is the balance of the two that make the beginnings of any great worship pastor or worship leader.

Now that we’ve addressed what a worship pastor isn’t – we’ll dive in to what the make-up of a worship pastor is…tomorrow.

Part 3: Qualifications of a Worship Pastor

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