By Sam S. Rainer III
Every Monday at 4 p.m., I meet with both my worship pastors.
We review the previous Sunday. We discuss the upcoming Sunday. We laugh together. We hold each other accountable. Sometimes I sing their worship set back to them because I have the voice of a senile cat, and it annoys them.
This meeting is critical for several reasons.
Music and preaching are complementary, not separate
Some lead pastors have the perspective of “You do your thing, and I’ll do mine” with worship pastors. The music is completely detached from the sermon.
While their motives are likely not disingenuous or lazy, crafting sermons and worship sets separately creates an awkwardness in worship flow. Music should never be isolated from the message. They are not distinct parts but part of a whole. The theology of the text should match the theology of the songs. The tone of the sermon should match the tone of the songs.
Separating the sermon and music separates the church
This problem can be overt or subtle. We’re all familiar with the worship wars over music style. But worship wars can also occur between those who want more music and those who want more preaching.
Churches should not have a “music” camp and a “preaching” camp. When worship pastors and lead pastors work together every week on a worship experience, these types of divisions will naturally ease.
Churches can sense the healthiness of staff relationships
A worship pastor and lead pastor share the stage every week. In most churches, they are the two most prominent staff people. Meeting weekly forces the issue. You have to interact. If you’re going to be around someone that much, then you might as well figure out how to get along.
Distance creates division. If you never interact, then the default relationship setting will be one of suspicion or apathy.
The people in your church are more perceptive than you realize. They can tell when a worship pastor and lead pastor do not get along, even if both remain professional about their relationship. A standing weekly meeting between worship pastors and lead pastors helps create a bond — one the church needs. Healthy churches have healthy staff relationships.
A regular rhythm in worship fosters discipleship
If you don’t get worship right, then it’s hard to get anything else right. When music and preaching are planned separately, the service will often feel disjointed.
A fluid worship experience helps create an atmosphere were discipleship is encouraged. The sermon is part of the whole of worship. The music is part of the whole of worship.
Discipleship does not occur in silos in the church, with each staff person running independent programs. The worship experience is no exception.
Pastors need to know what drives each other
The worship pastor needs to know the lead pastor’s heart. The lead pastor needs to understand what makes the worship pastor tick.
Worship pastors need to know how to enhance the vision of the church, while lead pastors need to know how to resource the worship ministry. The only way to facilitate this level of understanding is to meet often.
I believe it is the lead pastor’s responsibility to take the initiative with this meeting. And one meeting a week will not solve all problems between worship pastors and lead pastors, but it’s a start.
Get together and see where God takes you and your churches.
Sam S. Rainer III serves as president of Rainer Research, a firm dedicated to providing answers for better church health. He also is the senior pastor at Stevens Street Baptist Church in Cookeville, TN. He writes, speaks and consults on church health issues. You can connect with Sam at @samrainer or at his blog, samrainer.wordpress.com.