Essential Relationships for Worship Leaders – The Senior Pastor

Continuing thoughts on the relationships of worship leaders and their impact on corporate worship…

The connection between Pastor and Worship Leader is very important in regard to corporate worship.  Even in instances where they are related, there can be a natural divergence of focus and bridging the gap can require effort and commitment. 

The thoughts I share here are strictly from the perspective of a worship leader for the benefit of a worship leader.  I welcome thoughts from pastors.

  • Worship Leaders must be committed to the vision as set forth by the Pastor. 

This can be incredibly challenging for “creatively” driven people, but the simple fact is a leader must view themselves as an extension of the pastor.  Countless pastor-worship leader relationships have been undone by subtle struggles over power and influence.  Whatever influence God allows you to have with people should be used to promote the larger agenda of the ministry and not to feed ego. 


  • Change only comes through trust. 

No amount of cajoling, debate, and convincing can bring about change like trust can.  Particularly in cases where churches are changing/adding to their style of worship, a worship leader must have a well established track record of trustworthiness.   If you find that your pastor is resistant to new songs/styles/forms of worship, begin first by checking to see if you have the equity in your “trust account”.  Understand that you do not “earn the right” to do as you wish. 


  • Communication is key to properly deal with expectations.

Seek time regularly to speak with your pastor.  Ask for his input into songs/styles and for an honest assessment of his satisfaction with the worship ministry.  For some pastors this may be intimidating because they feel that they do not have the necessary musical terminology to adequately express their thoughts.  For some worship leaders this can be intimidating because we don’t like having our shortcomings, or those of our team, confronted.  Regardless, your openness to input will foster trust and confidence. 

Additionally, this is a great time to set and adjust expectations.  Be honest about your ability to produce what he is after.  If he’s thinking mass choir, and all you’ve got is 3 altos and a pitchy tenor, it is important to acknowledge such.  Let the pastor know your limitations, including personnel, equipment, and environment, but also offer a “can do” attitude and confidence.  The greater the pastor’s understanding of the issues you are working with the greater grace you may have with him.


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