Lessons from “Engage” – How to Make the Pastor / Worship Pastor Relationship Succeed

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I have been teaming up with Nelson Searcy (Lead Pastor at The Journey) this week to bring you 4 BIG worship planning principles from our new book, Engage: A Guide to Creating Life-Transforming Worship Services.

Today’s topic is one that Nelson and I believe is the most important lesson for every pastor and worship pastor . . . The Pastor / Worship Pastor Relationship.This weekend, in churches across America, teaching pastors and worship pastors will each stand in front of rooms full of churchgoers and… take turns doing their own thing.

If the songs the worship pastor has chosen for the day happen to be along the same thematic lines as the message the teaching pastor is preaching, the two pastors will high five after the service and revel in how powerfully the Holy Spirit moved.

If the teaching pastor preaches on something diametrically opposed to the songs the worship pastor leads the congregation in, they will mark it up to God’s indiscernible will and hope for better the next week.

In most cases, these pastors will lock the church doors and head to Sunday lunch having no idea that their relationship with one another is key to being able to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in planning cohesive, impacting worship services.The nature of the pastor/worship pastor relationship is complex, to say the least.

On the one hand, it is the most important relationship that exists on your church staff. Your respective areas comprise the two halves of an important whole. You share the stage, the message and the creative elements of the service. You are both integral to creating a welcoming, engaging environment that will lead to Radically Transformed Lives.

While this relationship is the most critical relationship that exists in the church, it is also the relationship that carries the most potential for tension and stress. Small issues can easily go unaddressed. Misunderstandings fester. Expectations are not always met. Frustrations rise… and the relationship becomes strained.

Over the years, both Nelson and I have had many pastors and worship pastors tell us, “My relationship with my [pastor/worship pastor] may not be great, but we manage. It doesn’t affect what we do on Sundays.”

I hate to shatter your illusion, but relational problems between the pastor and the worship pastor always affect the church’s worship services. If the relationship is wounded, the people in the seats will notice some limping. Good or bad, the details of this relationship play themselves out in our worship planning.

And since effective worship planning is the key to being able to conduct life-transforming worship services, the results can be devastating – on an eternal scale. When the pastor/worship pastor relationship is ineffective, the church misses out on its full redemptive potential.

When miscommunication, confusion, frustration and unmet expectations are chipping away at the base, it is going to suffer some damage. If the base is damaged, the tip isn’t quite so glorious. So if we ever hope to have God-filled, life-transforming worship services week-to-week, we have to get this relationship straightened out, once and for all; we have to work together!


PS – One more thing . . . your relationship with your pastor / worship leader is key to the work of your church. And Pastor to Pastor I want you to know that there is no better place for worship leaders to learn how to make this relationship a success than in my Worship Leader Tele-Coaching Network.

The network begins on Friday, April 20 (just 30 days away). There are still a few spots available, so I encourage you to prayerfully consider this opportunity.

To learn more and sign-up just go to www.worshipleaderinsights.com/coaching.