For the last 10 years I’ve been helping my friend, Vernon Whaley, by teaching in the Center for Music & Worship at Liberty University. I love it. I often wonder if I’m the teacher or the student whenever I’m on campus. Every time I come back, I am refreshed and renewed by the experience.
On one trip – now five years ago – my son John went with me. He was in the ninth grade. When he graduated high school, there was never a question of where he wanted to go to school. Now, he is finishing his sophomore year at Liberty.
Recently, in one of my classes, a discussion broke out about the differences between Artists and Shepherds. The context of the discussion was around church ministry and which role best described the Worship Pastor. Here are a few of the thoughts from the dialogue that day –
- Artists create. Shepherds lead.
- Artists express. Shepherds impress.
- Artists inspire. Shepherds equip.
You get the idea.
We talked about this for over an hour and the list goes on and on. But, here are a few takeaways:
- Both artistry and shepherding are needed in worship ministry. Artists aspire for excellence with purpose while Shepherds aspire for development of the flock and nurturing of the body.
- The Shepherds among us need to strengthen their artistry and the Artists among us need to hone their Shepherd’s staff.
- Music is not our message; It is our language.
The Church needs Artists AND Shepherds.
Mike Harland is the Director of LifeWay Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book. In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family. Mike can be found on Twitter @MikeHarlandLW and on facebook.com/Mike.Harland.37.