Serving in ministry, and particularly serving as a pastor, can easily deteriorate into a job. We can get in the rut of preparing messages and preaching and forget that our entire ministry is to be the outflow and overflow of the inflowing Holy Spirit in our lives. It is said that as Spurgeon would walk to the pulpit, those closest to him could hear him say, “I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit.” Without the Holy Spirit, our worship is flat and meaningless, and our preaching is powerless. We need the presence of God personally if we want to have any impact corporately.
As a pastor, I love praise and worship. Let me set the context for that statement. I was saved in the days of the Jesus Movement. When I came to Christ, I was introduced to the early days of Contemporary Christian Music. I bought records by folks like TRUTH, Andrae Crouch, The Imperials, Dallas Holm, Keith Green, and others. I remember the first youth musicals like Good News and Celebrate Life!. Music quickly became part of my spiritual DNA.
I’m not a musician. I can carry a tune, but I’m not the one you want leading the singing in church. But, if I’m not worshiping while we are singing, I’m sending the wrong message to the people I lead from the pulpit. I do not, nor have I ever, viewed worship as the appetizer before the entree.
When true worship is taking place, the flow is seamless, the tapestry is amazing, the harmony is heavenly, and the power is evident. In a recent blog, Mike Harland said, “I am a Worship Pastor with a Preacher’s heart.” I would say, “I am a Preacher with a Worship Pastor’s heart.” These should be two sides of the same coin. They should be inseparable in my heart, mind, and spirit.
Any attitude that would cause a lack of harmony between worship and the Word is not biblical. Any attitude that would lead to the worship leader and the pastor not being on the same page is not honorable to our heavenly Father or His Word. The attitude I often hear from preachers and worship pastors is “my time” and “your time.” Let’s get rid of this attitude! It’s HIS time. If it’s my time or your time, I’m robbing God of the glory due His name.
I love worship. I have loved serving alongside Mark Willard for the past fourteen years. Mark is a LifeWay songwriter and composer. He and I serve together weekly as well as in conferences and through our ReFRESH® Conferences. I love his heart and his giftedness. I love him as a person and as a friend. I really can’t imagine doing ministry without a Worship Pastor who “gets it” and sees the bigger picture.
Don’t ever ask me to sing, but if you want me to worship…I’m ALL IN!
Senior Pastor | Sherwood Baptist Church
Michael has been the Senior Pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., since 1989. He is the author of several books including Upgrade, Courageous Living, and Courageous Teens, as well as The Power of Desperation, The Power of Persistence, and The Power of Surrender in the ReFRESH® book series with Broadman and Holman, among others. Michael is the editor of www.2ProphetU.com, a resource website for pastors developed with Warren Wiersbe. Michael founded the ReFRESH® Conference, a time of seeking the Lord for spiritual awakening and revival, hosted each year in Albany, Ga.; Branson, Mo.; and Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Michael also serves as Executive Producer for the films developed by Sherwood Pictures. He and his wife Terri have two grown daughters, Erin and Hayley.