Often we think of the corporate worship gathering as two things that happen in the same service – singing and preaching. Typically musicians take about half of the time and the Pastor takes the other half – it’s two leaders doing two things.
I’ve come to think of the worship gathering in a different way.
It was the great Christian apologist, John Lennox who said, “Worship is a response to the revelation of God.” We have often thought of Proverbs 29:18 as a verse about visionary leadership because it is often quoted this way: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
The recently released Christian Standard Bible gives us a wonderful rendering of this verse that brings more clarity to the meaning:
“Without revelation, people run wild, but one who follows divine instruction will be happy.” (Proverbs 29:18, CSB)
In other words, in places where the word of God is absent, the people will live aimlessly. Our living is our everyday worship. So, revelation – the proclamation of the word of God – is an essential part of worship.
But, so is our response. The bible addresses singing over 100 times and praise many more times than that. Whenever God is revealed through His word in the person of Jesus Christ, people who understand who He is will respond in worship.
That is what our gatherings should be all about – revelation and response.
The pastor and the singer are two leaders doing one thing – leading worship. And, both are involved in revelation and response. Worship leadership is a shared ministry.
If this is true, the way these leaders engage with each other will affect their connection in leading worship. I want to suggest three ways these two leaders can share this ministry.
- Shared ministry requires shared vision.
What should our worship services be like? How will we measure impact? What opportunities should we give our people for response? These are just a few of the questions these leaders can explore continually.
- Shared ministry requires shared preparation.
Years ago, I began to study what my pastor was studying. If he was preparing a series on Ephesians, I started doing my own study of the book. Then in our meetings I would ask him questions about his approach and what he felt he would be emphasizing from the text. I wanted to read the books influencing him and discuss them together. I listened to the preachers I knew he loved to hear.
I also gave him recordings of songs I felt could be strategic for our ministry and asked him to share his thoughts. I wanted to be in his head-space and I wanted him to be in mine. When we met, we had a shared preparation for our planning together.
- Shared ministry requires shared execution.
Sure, these two leaders can execute their individual plans without the input of the other. But, how much stronger can this shared ministry be if the two would execute their vision together each week?
A review of previous worship services and planning for future ones with an emphasis on execution will benefit both of these leaders. There should be a rhythm of planning and evaluating all the time. Great trust can grow in these meetings.
I am confident of this – churches that are led by a pastor and music leader that share this ministry greatly benefit from the synergy their relationship brings.
Many church members will not be able to articulate this – but they will know their worship leaders are on the same page leading a shared ministry.
And, it will bring joy to the Body of Christ.
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.