This post will simply serve as a cataloguing of some thoughts I’ve been thinking about for the last several weeks concerning the role and responsibility of a Worship Pastor. Oak Park Baptist, the church where I have the privilege of pastoring, has just begun a search for a Worship Pastor. In preparation for the process, which no doubt will involve many discussions with men over what it means to be a Worship Pastor and what their role should be I’ve been reading through Bob Kauflin’s book Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God. Here some thoughts, which are in no specific order:
- Here’s a good working definition by Kauflin: “A faithful worship leader magnifies the greatness of God in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit by skillfully combining God’s Word with music, thereby motivating the gathered church to proclaim the gospel, to cherish God’s presence, and to live for God’s glory” (Kauflin, pp. 55).
- Magnifying and cherishing the greatness of God is at the heart of biblical worship (61)
- If most of our songs could be sung by Buddhists, Muslims, or Hindus, it’s time to change our repertoire (62)
- “The engagement of the heart in worship is the coming alive of the feelings and emotions and affections of the heart,” John Piper writes. Where feelings for God are dead, worship is dead” (65)
- The cross of Christ is crucial to worship.
- We need to exemplify a “Spirit-dependence.” Kauflin asks the question, “if the Spirit stopped empowering your worship, would anyone notice?” (87)
- Our worship needs to be Word-centered by treasuring, singing, reading, showing and praying God’s Word.
- Our music selection needs to say something. Gordon Fee said, “show me a church’s song and I’ll show you their theology” (pp. 101)
- We need to major on objective truth in our songs or “our songs can quickly drift into emotionalism and self-absorption. We start to worship our own experiences” (101).
- Don’t be tied down to one particular “style.” Michael Hamilton reminds us: “it is fruitless to search for a single musical style, or even any blend of musical styles, that can assist all Christians with true worship. The followers of Jesus are far too diverse group of people – which is exactly as it should be. We need, rather, to welcome any worship music that helps churches produce disciples of Jesus Christ. We need to welcome the experimental creativity that is always searching out new ways of singing the gospel, and banish the fear that grips us when familiar music passes away” (105).
- The twenty-year rule. “If someone was born in our church and grew up singing our songs over the course of twenty years, how well would they know God?” (119). This certainly elevates songs from simply something we do to fill up part of the service to a tool that God uses to teach His people about Himself, namely, His provision in the gospel of His Son Christ Jesus.
- Worshipping God should make us humble, secure, grateful, holy, mission-minded and it should change lives.
I’m only half way through his book but have found it extremely helpful in my understanding not only of a Worship Pastor’s role, but my role and responsibility as well. I’m looking forward to finishing it.