Skip to comments.How involved should the lead pastor be in selecting worship songs? Are the songs being sang in your church doctrinally sound
Posted on 09/27/2020 2:39:07 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
A church with one service a week will likely sing over 200 songs in a year. Our church has five services in two languages at two sites on Sunday. We also have Wednesday night programming. Throw in the student service and childrens ministry, and we probably sing close to 2,000 songs in a year (obviously some are sung more than once).
Songs elicit emotion. Thats how the art form works. Worship is no exception. Most have a favorite worship song. Most will have a few worship songs they dont like. One song can mean something different to two people standing next to each other in the same service. A worship pastor can craft an excellent plan of 2,000 songs in a year and still receive complaints about that one song. In my pastoral experience, people care more about song selection than they do church doctrine.
Given the acute attention to worship songs, I asked a question of the Church Answers community and posted the same question on Twitter. The poll was done more for fun than science, but over three hundred people responded.
How involved should the lead pastor be in the selection of worship songs?
The Church Answers community provided a lot of clarification around these percentages in Church Answers Central, our coaching and consulting forum.
The level of involvement should be higher with a less experienced worship pastor. A long-tenured lead pastor will have more oversight with a new, inexperienced worship pastor. An inexperienced and young lead pastor should lean into the recommendations of a long-tenured worship pastor.
Lead pastors should provide plenty of lead time with themes and directions of sermon series. The worship ministry is often the largest ministry in the church (in close competition with the childrens ministry). Coordinating large amounts of volunteers takes time. When the lead pastor makes changes right before weekend worship services, it can cause a lot of chaos in the worship ministry.
Sole pastors of smaller churches with volunteers tend to do more song selection than lead pastors of larger churches with staff. This one makes sense. I did most everything at my first church, which had all of six people. I not only selected the songs, but I led worship. On a karaoke machine. Yes, it was as bad as you are thinking.
There is a distinction between picking and approving songs. Some churches have a predetermined bucket of songs from which to choose. The lead pastor works with the worship ministry on selecting these songs ahead of time. Then the worship pastor can choose from them for any given service.
A weekly standing meeting between the lead pastor and worship pastor is beneficial and will help with tensions that can exist with song selection. When the worship pastor and lead pastor meet regularly, a bond of trust is formed. A standing meeting can build unity and friendship that the church will feel during worship.
The goal of song selection is more complex and deeper than simply reinforcing the sermon. The worship experience should do more than simply build up to the sermon. Worship pastors selecting songs desire to complement the sermon, but there is more to the process. Churches are full of people with a complexity of emotions and experiences. Worship pastors should select songs according to the mood and experience of the church, in addition to the text and topic of the sermon.
Equip or hire the right people and you will not need to be as concerned about song selection. When lead pastors micromanage song selection, it can become a source of frustration for competent worship pastors.
Song selection is one of the most visible parts of a worship experiencesomething felt by most everyone in the church. Lead pastors should be in tune with what songs the church sings. High-level guidance is what most believe is the best degree of involvement.
Originally published at Church Answers
As President of Church Answers, Sam Rainer wears many hats. From podcast co-host to full-time Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Church, Sams heart for ministry and revitalization are evident in all he does.
Once church I go to has a drummer, guitarists, bass player and singer.
The songs are good picks IMHO and again IMHO the band doesn’t distract from the mass and makes the younger folks show up more.
I enjoy it.
Or the church can just use hymns. They have stood the test of time. The presiding minister can easily choose ones that fit the Bible reading of the day.
However after a few months of attending there, I'm not kidding when I say that of the "worship songs" that they used, I wasn't familiar with ANYONE of them and less than 1% of the songs had any mention of God or Jesus on it.
The overall feel of the place (and it was quite large and over 60ft tall in the center of the building, felt more like a rock concert hall than a church. Sadly too was they they were almost all 100% ultra-liberals would constant be preaching on 'racial equality' and not 'oppressing the foreigners' etc.
I'm not kidding when I say that if Hillary made an appearance in there, they would almost worship her like the Messiah.
Oh well, its a sobering thought that ANYONE can be diverted, so even little old me can be diverted too. So after saying all of this that I've lived through with them, I'm not judging them, I'm just reflecting on how they used to operate and function.
I wish they would do that. I loathe "praise" music, but unfortunately, the electric guitar and drums have chased the organ and choir out of most churches today.
Our church solved this question by having praise and other new style songs on the 5th Sunday of each month. As one of the Elders said, Sheep do not all eat from the same patch of grass in a pasture, but chose their sustenance from various places, thus we were insuring that all our congregation (aka sheep in this example) were fed. I think it worked fairly well.
Then there are the liturgical churches that use a common lectionary so that the same scripture, especially the Gospel, is used at all churches everywhere. It has one theme but a selection of OT and Epistle readings, and one Gospel reading for that Sunday. They all publish a hymn guide with a variety of hymns for each Sunday that go along with the theme/readings. Much of Christendom hears the same Gospel throughout the world.
I attended a church numerous times with some friends. The worship songs were fine, but I was so bothered by the sermon, something was not in line with God. It took me a second Sunday to figure it out. The pastor was simply telling a great story with good values and morals. But there were zero references to a single scripture. Nothing. It was so blatantly obvious once I figured it out. The man was a Sunday storyteller, not a pastor.
The frosting on the cake; his wife was in charge of their Recovery program for drugs and alcohol. She ran a tight ship. If you were openly sinning, she was the one to counsel you instead of the head pastor. It was common knowledge that she was the one that would call you on the carpet for gossiping about information learned during the Recovery program, she was the one to even deal with other issues within the church instead of her husband. IMHO he was a figurehead and she was the actual pastor of the church. Bet big money she was also the disciplinarian in their home when their children were small.
I loathe “praise” music, but unfortunately, the electric guitar and drums have chased the organ and choir out of most churches today.
I welcome the change. As long as the lyrics are biblical, Im for it.
good grief eh?
You and me both.
I agree as long as the lyrics are biblical and the worship team doesn’t morph into the Rolling Stones or the Beatles where they think that they are to be given honor instead of the Lord.
IMHO, Selection of worship songs should never be made on the basis of emotion. Lyric content that is consistent with scripture is the most important element.
As a kid, our church elected a volunteer worship leader and backup every year. Same with piano/organ player. I think the church is wasting resources on hiring worship staff. The church had a lively worship service and the members singing was not drowned out by “pros” like today.
In many churches they are catering to those “members” who want to perform. If these members can’t perform, they go somewhere else. Why not have a talent night every Wednesday where those performers do their thing and those that want to listen show up. If no one shows up they could still perform. If someone wants a music career, go into show business or the recording business. I have seen some bands perform concerts in churches and fund themselves by donations.
An affiliated problem in many churches have “members” who leverage their donations to force the church to hire family members for worship or youth leaders.
Thanks for the reference
Here we go again, arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. I can just see Paul and Barnabas discussing this drivel.
Lead pastor is the final say of the congregation, and these mind deadening hare-krishna like repetitive praise songs are awful... as is a drum set and guitar.
I’d draw the line at pyrotechnics and laser shows. I’ve seen some churches that looked like a Who concert without the pot smoke.
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