Worship is a vital part of any effective ministry. The relationship between pastor and minister of music is key to consistently presenting powerful sermons with music and praise that compliments and supports the pastor’s message.
The pastor and minister of music need to have a working relationship that is healthy, spiritually vibrant, and completely submitted to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Any element of competitive jealousy, envy, or refusal to cooperate will undermine the worship experience and the effectiveness of the sermon.
Communication is key. The pastor should share his thoughts, direction, and goals of his message with his minister of music on a weekly basis. If you are preaching a series, either an exegetical approach of every verse, or by topic, you should keep your minister of music in the loop. One viable way to do this is to share your sermon notes with the music minister each week as you complete them. This will challenge you to wrap up your sermon preparation earlier in the week and it will give the music minister a fuller picture of what you are seeking to share sermonically. If sharing your sermon notes is not feasible, you should communicate the general direction and focus of your message as soon as possible to give the minister of music time to prayerfully select music for the coming service.
Feedback is also important in the ongoing cooperation between pastor and minister of music. The music minister should communicate his ideas for musical selections with the pastor prior to Sunday’s services. As the relationship and trust grow, this will become easier. If there is a song or music that does not fit well, the pastor needs to express his concerns to the minister of music. There will be times that both pastor and music minister are on the same page, but the music proves to be awkward to the flow of the service or simply does not work. This situation must be discussed in complete candor and honesty and serve to direct future choices in the music for worship.
Prayer and complete reliance on the Holy Spirit are foundational in this matter. All persons involved in worship leadership (ministers and lay people alike) must be humble before the Lord, earnestly praying for God’s guidance and strength, and everyone must depend on the Holy Spirit to empower the music and the message. The faithful, consistent practice of Spirit-filled leadership from the pastor and minister of music will have great impact on others involved in worship leadership like musicians or technicians.
Caution should be noted when it comes to the issue of musical preference or taste. Sadly, many churches have struggled over the issue of musical styles. The ultimate consideration is to carefully seek that which pleases the Lord. Fighting over hymns verses choruses cannot glorify the Lord or edify the body. There is great value in the old hymn texts, especially those rich with powerful theology. There is equally great value in choruses and newer musical works that lift up the Lord, praise his name, and encourage the worshipers.
Another point of concern is the idea that many church members have to come to the place where they “worship the worship” instead of worshiping the Lord. The pastor and minister of music must work cooperatively to educate people on the purpose and focus of genuine worship. The consistent cooperation and united effort of the pastor and minister of music will reinforce the appropriate approach and response to worship.
Jeff Moore is the Pastor of First Baptist Church, Altus and can be reached at email@example.com.