Since they usually serve alongside each other in the same “gathering” context, maintaining a healthy relationship should be a lock, right?
We know that’s not true. Sadly, in some churches, the worship leader/pastor dynamic is one of the most tense, difficult aspects of the staff component.
I don’t say it near enough, but I am so grateful to have a healthy relationship with my Senior Pastor. I consider him to be my boss, spiritual mentor, partner in ministry and friend. I count this as a gift from God’s own hand and I am thankful for it. But we’ve all seen the ugly side of pastoral relationships, even those of us in healthy work relationships.
Today, we’re talking 5 things every worship leader should know about his or her pastor. Next week, we’ll flip it and let pastors know what they should expect when they deal with you!
1. He needs you to be the easiest part of his day.
Your pastor deals with more stress than you can possibly imagine. If you had a glimpse of the counseling, financing and executive duties that he faces, you’d be baffled. Not every musical or creative crisis needs to land on his desk.
APPLICATION: Go into meetings looking for ways you can help HIM, not the other way around.
2. He’s not out to get you.
It’s easy to assume the worst about someone when you’re in crisis. As worship leaders, it’s easy for us to quickly go to the most pessimistic, dark place when it comes to our pastors. We jump to conclusions and if we’re not careful, we can assume that they’ve got the most evil of intentions. That’s usually not the case, and in situations where pastors are combative or territorial, there are usually other issues contributing. And chances are he’s never out to get you.
APPLICATION: Jesus loves him no matter how bad he’s acting. Love him like that. Love your pastor enough to help.
3. He needs to know that you value what matters.
If pastors are skeptical of worship leaders, it’s because we sometimes get our focus on the wrong thing. We judge pass or fail on if a guitar lead went right or if a video got the response we were expecting. While those are good things, your pastor needs to know that you value the exaltation and proclamation of God’s worth and truth above all that other stuff – that you care about that in every lead and song and prayer and video.
APPLICATION: When talking about successes or vision, focus on how the elements of your job contribute to the praise of God and the sharing of truth and not just excellence in performance of one kind or another.
4. He wants you to finish what you start.
Man, we’re bad about this aren’t we? We get a wild and ambitious idea, we pitch it to our pastor to get his blessing, work on it for awhile and then abandon it when we decide we want to do something else. Why does this matter to a pastor? Because he’s also your boss. In addition to seeing if you lead with excellence and love the congregation, he’s also watching to see what kind of worker you are. Are you dependable? Are you faithful? Can you still perform when the odds are against you? Being a finisher says volumes to your pastor about the type of person you.
APPLICATION: One afternoon, make a list of all the “projects” you’ve got going. Find three of them that don’t matter and scratch them off the list. Simply and prioritize.
5. He needs you to know who you are.
Most of us think we can do anything. Edit the mission trip video? Sure. Teach a Sunday School class? Definitely. Lead that 8:05am hymn service? Be there at 7:30. But know this – your pastor is too busy to manage your ministry. It’s not his job to wave you off of tasks that you’re going to fail. Knowing your gifts and weaknesses will ensure more consistent quality and will create confidence on the part of your pastor.
APPLICATION: When you have to say “no”, make sure your pastor knows why. If he sees that you’re trying to be the best you you can be, he’s going to trust you.
A healthy relationship with your pastor isn’t something you do in 5 simple steps. But thinking about him – what he values and what he needs to shepherd the church – will definitely increase the quality of your ministry and will raise the level of respect you give him.