Music plays an important role in the day to day human affairs. The role of music in the church is a prominent one. It is used for worship, to encourage the brethren, to correct abnormalities in the body of Christ, and to invoke God’s presence in the human gathering. But the effect of music in the church relies much on the cordial relationship between the Pastor and the music minister.
As good as cultivating a relationship is, the relationship between the music minister, the Pastor and the church has not been an easy one. You’ll hear statements like, “my Pastor is so controlling…….,” “I feel caged in.” Turning to the Pastor, you’ll hear words like, “my worship leader/musician is too unpredictable in front of the congregation.” It is an epidemic.
A chasm lies between Pastors and music ministers in many of our churches. The depth of the relational schism varies, but the pain each leader feels, is nonetheless, obvious. If there is going to be a proper move of God in church services, then, this cogent issue should not be overlooked.
There is, therefore, an urgent need to address the matter of the relationship between the pastor and the music minister in the church. This material intends to address the music minister as a major key player in the church music ministry, who is also under the authority of a Pastor who is the visionary of the church.
What Music Ministers Ought to Know?
Before dealing with the relationship that exists between the music ministers, his Pastor & church, there is a need to open the eyes of the music minister to what he ought to know.
Every music minister ought to know that there are four main areas in their life & ministry where they will have to grow activity. These areas include:
The secret of being an effective music minister begins with having the heart of a worshipper. But the difficulties and demands of ministry often leave worship leaders with little or no extra time for personal worship and care for their souls. The spiritual life of the worship leader himself matters because if God is not accepting you, he will not accept anything you have to offer. And mind you, you can’t give anything you don’t have. Your worship life depends on your understanding of the personality of God whom you worship. To grow in this area, you need to:
- Make worship a daily part of your life: Anything that you do daily, you improve on. Spending time daily with God is a basic prerequisite for being a music minister. This should include a daily reading of the Bible. You should read a Psalm and a Proverb every day. Reading a Psalm each day will give you insight into what the biblical worship leaders have gone through. You will notice that they have their good days and bad days. You will notice their passion and trust in God. The Proverbs will give insight into human behavior. One of the most crucial areas of leading worship is relating to people. Col. 3:16. But this does not mean that you neglect other books of the Bible. To be a balanced music minister you must balance your scriptural understanding and spiritual life.
- Study under a great spiritual music minister: This is the best way to learn and it can take different forms. Jesus used this method to teach His disciples. If you have a good mentor in your church, watch them and learn from them – in this situation you can watch them in a weekly worship setting. Tell them that you are interested in learning, study what they do. Study what makes them successful and learn from their strengths, weaknesses, and prayer life.
- Learn the great worship/praise songs: God is birthing great songs around the world. We now have access to great songs from around the world. Learn old and new songs. Find the songs that God’s spirit is resting on. Find the songs that are blessing the nations. You have to personally buy new songbooks and worship CD’s that comes out. Your collection should range from Maranatha collections, vineyard collections, Hosanna integrity collections, Hill song collections, hymnbook collections, and various other songbooks.
This aspect deals with your ability to improve on your singing or your ability to learn how to play instruments. As music ministers, we need to add an extra touch to our ministry. Doing the following will help:
- Learn the rudiment of music: As a music minister, you must have a basic understanding of music. There is no how you can effectively operate in the office you do not know about. This is not negotiable it’s of great importance.
- Learn to play a new instrument: playing a musical instrument is of great help in worship. Most of the great worship leaders play an instrument. It is not a prerequisite, but it is of great help.
- Find yourself a good teacher: find someone who will teach you not only the basics of the instrument and reading music but someone who will help you to read chord progressions and help you to accompany yourself as you sing and worship.
- If you are a singer, learn to sing to the best of your ability: just as taking a lesson is an important part of learning to play an instrument, it is also important to take vocal lessons. You need to learn, a lot about breathing, projection, tone, and enunciation.
Another great way of learning to sing is simply to copy the tone and articulation of your favorite artist. Copying other musicians and singers is one of the chief ways musicians learn. You can also learn a variety of different styles of songs. Classical styled music is not more spiritual than pop styled music, it is the lyrics and heart of the musicians that define the spiritual depth of the song.
- Become a more versatile musician: if you are a keyboard player, for example, you can learn modulation and improvisation to improve the flow between songs. Learning underscoring will help you add musical dimensions to other elements of your service. Mastering MIDI Technology will further expand your versatility. Learning new musical styles on your instrument will increase your versatility.
To avoid potential burnout, every music minister needs to grow a deep root. Here are some ways you can begin to deepen your theological foundation, whether you’ve never read a single theological book or you’ve got a Ph.D. in theology:
- Develop your theology of worship: start by studying the key biblical passages that relate to worship. Read books and articles that present a theological slant on worship, as well as literature with a practical leadership approach.
- Understanding the importance of worship in the Bible: The largest book in the Bible is a songbook (The Psalms). Some of the greatest men of God were songwriters. Moses, David, and Solomon are among the most prolific. God is looking for people to worship Him (John 4:23-24) because He loves worshippers. King David was one of the chief songwriters of the Bible and a man who loved to worship God. Despite his failures, his desires were to be closed to God, and worship was one of the best ways for him to express that.
This is the ability to lead and manage the music ministry which is a chief weakness of music ministers today. Good ideas and intentions are often undermined by a lack of personal organization and poorly handled relationships. These guidelines should help.
- Make time for a key relationship in your life: Keep plenty of time available to spend with your Pastor and other leaders in your church. Leadership is about trust, which can only be earned in relationships, and relationship takes time.
- Learn how to communicate in front of the congregation: Effective communication comes in many forms. The way you speak, act, and dress, all communicate volumes to the congregations. Music ministers (especially worship leader) are not required to speak volumes, but effective right words at the right time. Worship leaders must always remember that they are not the preacher, one of the most effective ways to speak is to quote the Bible.
People will always accept change and direction in worship if they are shown in the word of God. Learn to overcome such problems as stuttering or talking too fast. Learn good grammar as well. Also, humility in worship leader/music minister is of paramount importance. Your body language will speak volumes to the congregation. Leading with a humble spirit but with authority is an important balance in an effective leadership.
Closing the gap between Pastor, the Church, and Music Ministers
For any music ministry to thrive and prosper in a local assembly, there should be a good relationship between the music ministers, the Pastor, and the church. But unfortunately, there is a breakdown between the music minister and Pastors, which in turn affects the church. The personality differences between the Pastor and the music minister are significant. Pastors are often logical in their thinking patterns, pragmatic in their decision-making, and fiscally cautious. Worship leaders tend to be dreaming, “out-of-the-box creative”, and hardly would want to be confined to a budget.
The conflict between Pastors and music minister is not a new problem, but this is not ideal in the church of Christ.
Identify Primary Sources of Conflict
Closing up the gap between Pastors and music ministers begins by identifying the primary source of conflict between them. These sources of conflict are differences that exist between the Pastor and the music ministers. They are as follows:
These differences will deal with issues like:
What is the worship leader’s role? What is the goal of corporate worship? How is the Holy Spirit manifesting in worship? Once there is a difference in views, potential, there is bound to be conflict.
This difference deals with the style believed to be adopted during services. And it can be classified into the following:
- Planned vs spontaneous
Sin issues are another source of conflict and it finds expression through the following:
- Selfish ambition: leading to comparison, offense, and slander.
- Selfishness: leading to apathy, lack of interest, and care.
- Envy/Jealousy: as a result of gifting, impact on others, importance in the church.
What music minister ought to do?
A music minister’s reaction is very vital in closing the gap between his ministry and the pastor. When the difference is identified, this is what a music minister should do:
- Settle it in your mind that the Pastor is ultimately responsible for the direction and life of the church
- Focus on servicing the priorities of your pastor and not your own (Phil 2:3-4): Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourself. Each of you should look not for your interest, but the interest of others.
- Make it your aim to make worship your lifestyle than ministerial activities.
- Seek to keep your pastor informed and updated as to songs, CDS. Be sensitive to how much he can be involved.
- Regularly communicate to your pastor about your willingness to step back or step down if he feels someone else could do a more effective job in leading the music team.
- Even if you feel that the Pastor’s vision for the music ministry is not motivational or does not stir up enough passion in your heart, try to communicate with him in a way that will open up an atmosphere to celebrate the new idea. Murmuring or poisoning the minds of your fellow music ministers is not an option.
Every music minister must understand that under God, the mix and match of a music pulpit team can produce public chemistry and fulfilling worship. The church is enhanced by the vibrant blend of personalities as long as each part is committed to the process of mentioning and submission. As we seek to improve our music ministry, the Lord will take us to greater heights and opportunities of ministry.