Unspoken expectations


Thomas a` Kempis said, “Be not angry that you cannot make others as you want them to be when you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.”


Whether we admit it or not, one of the most challenging aspects of serving in ministry is serving with others who are different than we are, especially when those others are either in a position that has authority over us, or that we have authority over.  Specifically, the relationship between senior pastor and worship pastor/minister of music is especially challenging because of the close proximity of the responsibilities of each and the marked differences that tend to attract persons to those roles.  The Lord calls us into service, and that sense of calling from Him is crucial to our well-being.  It is also paramount that we trust Him for what is taking place in the one we serve with in this pastor – worship pastor relationship.


With that precursor, below is a sampling of the responses received to the above question regarding what worship leaders wish their pastors knew about them and their ministry.  I appreciate the candid and sometimes apparently painful responses.  It may surprise some of you as it did me a bit to see replies even by those who volunteer in the music leadership roles.  Here are responses compiled that are at least representative of most all replies:


§  Honestly, the depth of work that goes into producing the Sunday morning service, or that should go into producing it.  He cares, really he does, but he does not understand.  He meets someone who may or may not sing well and invites them to sing the next Sunday regardless of what I have planned.  He will call me up and say let’s do this song next Sunday and its one we have never done before.  He just does not understand the work it takes on everyone’s part to do things well and glorify God.


That said we have a good relationship and he goes out of the way normally to get along.

§  I am not a mind reader.  If you want a certain song, please tell me.  I don’t want you to tell me all of the songs, but at least give me a general direction to look at.


Wish he knew that I am juggling multiple jobs just like him.  I am a volunteer Music Minister and work a full time job outside of what appears to be a full time job keeping up with musicians, this week’s PowerPoint, teaching Sunday School and Wednesday night classes, VBS, the latest church computer issue, and trying to manage family life as a mother of school age kids.  Due to the economy, I am also having to look for a part-time job.  No wonder so many Minsters’ families are falling apart.  Satan is keeping us from personal study time because we are either too busy chasing lose ends or too tired to focus!


Technology is supposed to make our jobs easier but it has increased the demand on our time instead.  I find myself cleaning up after those who say they know how to run a computer or sound board, but cannot.

§  My pastor wants a bigger choir.  I’m struggling to engage new members in our choir.  We typically have 20 or so for Sunday AM worship with a total congregation of approximately 150.  I would like to see what my counterparts across the state recommend, knowing every church is different as are the directors.


§  I wish my pastor saw me as a partner.  I really don’t know how he thinks of me.  His communication is limited to instructions.  Our conversations are short and have little sense that he values me more than a hired musician.  I am left with the impression that I am of little value.  Even though our choir and musicians share good relationships with my family and me, I feel no real sense of security when I am around the pastor.


§  Just because people in the church express affirmation to me does not need to present a threat to my pastor.  I am very loyal and supportive, but get the feeling he is jealous of my support in the congregation.


§  Worship has more moods and expressions besides celebration.  I am sensitive to needs and moods, like most musicians, and want to use those gifts and not just act as a kind of cheerleader.


§  My pastor needs to know or acknowledge that we have different personalities and that is ok.  I can help him keep from making certain mistakes and I am sure the reverse is true, but we need to communicate for that to be the case.


§  I love the Lord, the church, the people, and the pastor and other staff.  I have been to college, seminary, and continually read everything I can about worship and use of music in worship. In staff meetings and at other times the pastor gives me directions as if I know little or nothing about the church or worship.  I feel belittled, often overlooked, and generally as if my education and service as a minister are  unappreciated.


Brothers and sisters, the replies I received reveal the very epidemic that I feel is taking place in so many of our church situations.  I am prayerful that the Lord will help us find ways to turn some of these situations in a more positive direction, and that He will give wisdom and insight into ways we can help one another and strengthen the critical relationship between senior pastors and worship pastors/ministers of music.  I am going to speak with those who work more directly with senior pastors in other capacities here at TBC to see about partnering on conferencing in some of these areas. It is concerning to me that I hear often about pastors who have problems with overextending themselves, yet cannot delegate responsibility.  Those characteristics together with your responses strongly imply to my mind trust issues that need to be addressed.  As I have prayed over these matters the Lord has shown me a way of trust even in this journey of addressing these issues.  For instance, our ministry partners – Union University, Carson Newman, Lifeway, and the seminaries – are aware of these same challenges and address them to some extent from their vantage point.  In fact, I have been working with some of these to facilitate pilot projects that would call pastors and worship leaders to concentrated times of retreat and focus together.


Meanwhile, we must pray, support, stay in God’s Word, trust our calling from the Lord as first and highest priority, and walk through the valleys and mountaintops as the Lord gives what He deems best.


Please know of my desire to support you, your pastors, your churches, and your people along the journey in any way I can.  Gatherings of worship pastors, lunches and fellowship with other worship leaders, and conference gatherings like the one coming in August can help us by reminding us of that calling upon our lives.  Strands of rope are stronger when intertwined (Ecc 4:12).

Explore posts in the same categories: Church Music, Leading Worship, Music Ministry, Spiritual formation through singing, Worship Leader Relationships, Worship Leaders, Worship Pastors

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