Secrets to a Thriving Pastor / Worship Pastor Relationship

Jason Hatley

Last week I began this series on how to create a thriving Pastor / Worship Pastor relationship by talking about the importance of this relationship specifically in planning life-transforming worship services.

This relationship between Pastor and Worship Pastor is vitally important to the health of your church. In fact, I believe that it is the most important relationship in the church.

Think about it . . . it’s the most visible relationship in the church (you both lead publicly from the platform). It’s also the relationship that has the most to do with the week-to-week public direction of the church (the worship service).

This relationship matters! What I’ve found in my ministry and in the coaching and training of worship leaders around the country, is that there is an interesting paradox in this relationship.

Here’s the idea…

* The most important relationship in the worship planning process is the Pastor / Worship Pastor relationship.

* The greatest tension in the worship planning process tends to be in the Pastor / Worship Pastor relationship.
I think this is fascinating! And it stands to reason then that one of the major reasons why many churches struggle in designing relevant, creative, God-honoring, life-transforming worship services every week is the relationship (or lack there of) between the pastor and the worship pastor.

It’s not that you aren’t friends or courteous with one another. You may like each other and hang out all the time, or you may have little in common. But chances are there is a level of frustration on one or both sides if you aren’t consciously working together to plan the service (not just your part, but speaking into the entire thing).

By the way, the Devil loves this because he knows that as long as you and your pastor or worship pastor aren’t working together to plan life-transforming worship services that your church will never reach it’s full redemptive potential.

Most of the time, the problem is in the area or communication, though it may be any number of things. Whatever the problem, an ineffective Pastor/ Worship Pastor relationship eventually leads to:

* Frustration – “If he would only get the sermon done sooner, then I could do plan further ahead.”

* Poor worship services – If you aren’t working together, you might as well be working against each other.

* Misplaced expectations – “That’s not my job.”

* Lack of clarity about the vision for your service – “That’s not the way we do things around here.”

* Damaged trust

* Loss of friendship – Walk down this path too long you may find it hard to even work together.

Just to name a few.

So what are a Pastor and Worship Pastor to do?

That’s what next week’s post will focus on. But before then, I have some homework for you.

Take 10 minutes and write down on a sheet of paper the number of interactions that you have with your pastor or worship pastor every week.


  • What is the general point of your interactions?
  • Are there scheduled meetings to discuss worship planning?
  • If so, what do you bring to those meetings, and what does the other person bring?
  • What is working and what is not working in your worship planning process right now?

Answering and discussing these questions will help you understand your role in the process, and most importantly, how the other person sees their role as well.
Your partner in ministry,


PS – You can create life transforamtional worship services EVERY Sunday with the Planning Worship Services for Life Transformation Workshop.

In this powerful, six hour workshop, my Lead Pastor Nelson Searcy and I will teach you the proven principles and practices that have made the Journey Church in NYC one of the most innovative and effective churches in America.

In this resource you will learn:

  • How to maximize the worship time you have each weekend
  • How the pastor and worship leader can effectively work together
  • How to plan dynamic and effective worship orders
  • How to use media, drama and testimony that captures the heart of your people
  • How to create a healthy and focused team environment
  • How to use feedback that ”builds up” and makes every service better
  • How to plan ahead so you can break the Sunday to Sunday tyranny
  • How to build all the elements of the service around the message
  • And much more!

This 6-hour workshop will teach you proven principles and practices to increase your worship planning effectiveness.

Recorded LIVE, Planning Worship Services for Life Transformation Workshop also includes more than 15 additional resource files, including:

  • Fill in the blank workshop notesimg
  • Sample worship orders
  • Sample band notes
  • Sample message transcript
  • Sample planning notes, calendars and assignments
  • Sample ideas and resources
  • And much more!

This is a nuts and bolts resource that will teach you to make the most of your weekly worship times through effective, God honoring planning.

And if you aren’t absolutely satisfied with this resource (or any of my resources for that matter) simply return your product within 365 days for a prompt and courteous refund.
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TUESDAY MORNING INSIGHTS is Jason Hatley’s free weekly training resource specifically designed to provide you as a worship leader with proven principles, tips and practices to help you lead a healthy and thriving Worship Arts Team.

About Jason Hatley and Worship Leader Insights

Jason HatleyIn 2002, Jason Hatley helped launch The Journey Church in New York City, directing the programming of their worship services. He serves as the Pastor of Worship Arts and built from scratch The Journey’s worship arts team, a group of over 200 artists and technicians who develop and implement the creative and technical elements at weekly Sunday services. The Journey has been recognized as one of Outreach Magazines fastest growing and most creative churches.

Jason has been a worship leader since 1996. He invests in Worship Pastors around the country through interactive coaching networks and worship planning resources. He has been a featured break-out speaker at the Willow Creek Arts Conference, The Purpose Drive Worship Conference, as well as seminars around the country. He has a B.M. in Sacred Music Performance from Appalachian State University.

Jason and his family currently live in Boca Raton, FL where he serves as the Pastor of Worship Arts at The Journey’s newest campus in South Florida.

How to Make the Pastor / Worship Pastor Relationship Work, Part 1

Jason Hatley

Recently on a phone call with my Tele-Coaching network one of the worship leaders in our network began to ask my thoughts on how to overcome what has become (I think) a CENTRAL issue for Worship Leaders serving in the local church.

It has nothing to do with where you find new music, or even how to grow your team.

It’s the challenge of how to work effectively with your pastor to plan your worship services.

After completing a session on some proven strategies to plan worship services months (even a year) in advance through a great tool called the One Year Preaching Calendar, my friend asked a question that many worship leaders struggle with. “This is great. It would be a huge help to our planning process, BUT I don’t know if my pastor will want to plan in advance like this.”

By the way, the shoe fits the other foot as well. Pastors who are working hard to keep their teams planned ahead and it’s the worship pastor who just can’t find the time or organization to lead the effort for advanced planning and seems to fall behind.

The BIG issue behind this is really not as much the planning itself, but the relationship between the Pastor and Worship Pastor. And that’s what I have found through coaching nearly 200 worship pastors personally and training thousands of others, is the true hard work of advanced planning. Read more

What is Your TOP 5?

Jason Hatley

I’m not talking about your Top 5 80’s love songs (though I do love power ballads). No – I have something a little more important in mind.

Here’s what I mean: If I were to ask you to write down on a sheet of paper the TOP 5 MOST CRUCIAL activities that you do as a leader in your church, could you name them?

This is a question we asked in a Journey staff meeting years ago and one that I oftentimes ask to the Worship Leaders in my coaching networks.

The question is simple on the surface, but powerfully clarifying when you take time to answer.

The truth is many pastors and worship leaders are more likely to be busy than effective. There’s a distinct difference. As Peter Drucker says, “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.”

And not because they don’t want to make the biggest impact for the kingdom possible, but because in ministry it is so easy to be distracted by the urgent and allow the important slide by.

So back to this powerful little question – “What are your TOP 5 PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES that make the biggest impact in your church?”

Here are 3 reasons why answering this question (along with your pastor – VERY IMPORTANT) are worth your time and effort, and after this I’ll share a few of mine.

Read more

What You Can (and Can’t) Do to Help Your Team Members Grow, Part 2

Jason Hatley

Last week we started this discussion on what we can and can’t do to help our team members grow. After all, there are things we can (and MUST) do as the pastors and leaders in this area, but there are also some things that simply CANNOT do for our team members. . . things they have to do for themselves in order to grow spiritually and in their ministry roles.

Today I want to focus on one of the things WE MUST do. Something I consider to be the primary growth factor of your worship team . . . YOU! That’s right – the growth and health of your team and my team is largely dependent on how you and I are growing as leaders.

John Maxwell called this the Law of the Lid saying, “Leadership ability is the lid that determines a person’s level of effectiveness. The lower an individual’s ability to lead, the lower the lid of his or her potential. The higher the leadership, the greater the effectiveness.”

We are effective in leading and growing our teams to the extent that we are leading and growing ourselves. I’ve seen this law applied to everyone of the 150+ worship leaders I’ve coached over the last 5 years . . . and to myself too!

As a young worship leader 10 years ago, I didn’t have the skills that I needed to build teams, plan worship services, even manage a task list. There were a lot of books I needed to read, seminars I needed to attend, worship leaders I need to meet and get coached by.

It was work, but it was worth it! I bet you have a similar experience.

I call this the Personal Challenge. The Personal Challenge is the first and most important challenge that you face in ministry. It is the challenge of becoming the leader that God has called you to be.
Read more

What You Can (and Can’t) Do to Help Your Team Members Grow

Jason HatleyAfter last week’s post on How to Make Ministry Personal, I received a note from one of my Coaching Alumni and friends in ministry. He said that the post had been really helpful for him in considering how he was leading his team, and it launched us into a conversation about just what we are able (and not able) to do to help our team members grow.

I think this is a HUGE conversation for worship pastors because the truth is many of us live with a load of guilt that we are somehow not doing the best we can to help our team members grow in their faith and connection to the church.

There’s always more that we could do I’m sure, but honestly there are some things that we simply CANNOT.

Read more

Ministry is Personal!

“When is the last time you had a physical?” I asked myself that question as I was setting my goals for 2011 and I didn’t Jason Hatleylike the answer. So I decided to get a physical earlier this year. And not just the basics . . . the works!

Among a litany of tests I received, by far the most important was the EKG. As you know an EKG measures the health of your heart.

An EKG is important because regardless of how well you do on all of your other physical exams, if your heart fails . . . well, the rest of your body will, too.

That principle is true in life . . . and ministry!

Read more

3 Powerful (and Easy) Reading Goals for this Summer

Jason Hatley

I admit it. I have not always had a love of reading. But it didn’t take long as a young Worship Pastor at The Journey for me to recognize my need to read in order to survive in ministry, much less lead a thriving worship team.

I first started in ministry at age 23. I was fresh out of college. I had been a worship leader, but I had never been a Worship Pastor in the church before. I could stand onstage and lead worship, but I couldn’t write a task list, build teams, lead people . . . you get the picture.

It was at that point – aware of my personal and ministry shortcomings, and certain that I needed to make a change – that I developed a love for reading.

Read more

You don’t need more discipline in your life. You need more . . .

Jason HatleyYou don’t need more discipline in your life. You need more . . .

I’ll admit it – there are some things in my life that I’m disciplined in and some things I am not so much.

Are you with me on that?

For instance, I feel I have a lot of discipline when it comes to the work of ministry, but I don’t do as well when it comes to showing restraint with one of life’s greatest temptations – Read more

How to (Exponentially) Grow Yourself and Your Team this Summer – Part 3

Jason HatleyDid you know . . . This summer is the perfect time for your team to grow?

That’s the question I’ve been asking in Part 1 and Part 2 of this new series on How to Grow Yourself and Your Worship Team this summer.

The last two weeks I’ve challenged you to have a Passion for growth this summer and to partner with God in Praying for growth this summer. . . two very important parts of your growth plan.

But without this 3rd and final element in your Growth Plan for the summer, the first two will soon fade.

Read more

How to Grow Yourself and Your Team this Summer – Part 2

Last week we started a 3-part series on How to Grow Yourself and Your Worship Team this Summer.

As you know, many worship leaders look at the summer as a time to GLIDE . . . to just get through the summer months and pick up where they left off in the fall.

But I believe the summer is a time for GROWTH – both for you personally as well as for your team.

It’s starts with developing a Passion for Growth. But that’s not all . . .

Read more