Although you have primary responsibility for your church’s music leadership…
You might only be the fifth most important person in your worship ministry.
Your spiritual, mental and physical health matters. Your relationships with your family and friends matter. Your skill level, expertise and experience matters. But your job is more than just picking songs for Sunday. A lot more. And you can only do it well when you are healthy and when you have healthy relationships with the other folks on this list.
The fourth most important people in your worship ministry are the singers, musicians and support staff you lead.
It would be tempting to think of them as there to serve your vision--as supporting cast--but the opposite is true. Christ demonstrates that the greatest leaders are those who wash the feet of those they serve. Most of them volunteer their modest talents to serve their church and their Lord. You put them first as you help them become more excellent—not only as practicing musicians, but as worshiping disciples as well.
The third most important people in your worship ministry are those in the pew.
The choir, worship team and musicians are not there to worship on behalf of the congregation, but rather to lead them in worship. Yes, there are times when the congregation will be vicariously inspired by the excellence of an instrumentalist or the beauty of a vocalist, but that’s not the same as having the minds, bodies and spirits of God’s people fully engaged in giving him the glory he is due. When we sing on their behalf instead of leading them in song, we may be communicating that the privilege belongs to those on the platform and inadvertently robbing God’s people of their opportunity to worship. Be careful out there.
The second most important people in your music ministry are those in spiritual authority in your church.
How well do you know them? How well are you serving their goals and aspirations? How well are you in sync with one another and with how the Holy Spirit is leading your church—not just on Sundays, but across the weeks and months? Are you of “one mind” with your pastors and elders and board members as you collectively wrestle with how to be God’s people in the community to which you have been called? Looking back, I confess that in my haste to introduce a new song or move our music program “forward,” I missed some opportunities to respect and serve those above and beside me.
The most important people in your worship ministry are the Holy Trinity.
But the Lord is often an afterthought as we focus on finding music and rehearsing singers and musicians. More often than not, I’ve found myself only entering into worship when the lights go down and the music starts. In reality, our worship begins by asking God what would please him and how we should go about it. If we really have the mind of Christ, we will be sensitive and obedient to his Spirit before the first note is played.
In closing, I encourage you to read this list again, this time prioritized from first to fifth. One final thought: the most important person in your music ministry may be…
the one you should be paying more attention to.
--For more great practical articles about leadership for worship pastors and choir directors, go to www.discovership.com