Over my years of church consulting, I’ve heard many, many stories about the person who leads the church to sing during a worship service. The title varies (e.g., Minister of Music, Worship Pastor, Song Leader, etc.), but the task is generally the same. Here are some of things others have most affirmed about worship leaders, followed by concerns most often raised.
When church leaders affirm worship leaders, they often affirm:
- They lead worship; they don’t just direct songs. This may be the most common positive I’ve heard over the years. You can tell the difference when the person leading truly wants to guide the congregation to worship.
- They’re theologically strong. They know theology matters. In most cases, one of their criteria for evaluating a music selection is its theological teaching.
- They coordinate the entire service to promote strong worship. They work with other pastors—particularly, the preacher—to tie together the elements of the service without creating something that feels rigid and forced.
- They strive for excellence. They make that commitment not because they want to produce a good “show,” but because they believe the Lord deserves our best.
- They get out of the way. That is, they clearly lead, but it’s almost as if they lead invisibly. You just know they want to point people to Jesus.
On the other hand, here are some of the concerns raised:
- They move too quickly in making changes. This is particularly the case when shifting worship styles.
- They choose songs that are almost not sing-able. They can sing the songs as soloists, but the songs don’t work for congregational singing.
- They’re apparently comfortable with less than the best. Disorganization and poor production are common, and no one seems to want to address those issues.
- They “preach” more than they sing. Well-placed words are welcomed, but sermons between songs become problematic.
- They leave little time for the sermon. Even when the service plan gives sufficient time for preaching, they still use more time than planned—and preachers feel like they must cut their time.
What might you add to the list? And, I encourage you to add a positive if you choose to add a negative . . . .