I was once really inspired by a conference. I was a fledgling youth pastor working part time in my hometown and somehow had convinced my pastor, worship minister, and volunteer drama director to travel to Houston for a conference (mainly so I could hear Doug Fields speak) on church leadership.
When we came back, I remember debriefing with my pastor the following Monday about the conference, where I suggested that he, the worship guy, and I all get together one day each week to plan the service on Sunday.
You see, up until that point, all our staff had to do was show up to a service that the worship leader planned and wait for our part. When it was time for the preaching, the worship pastor would nod at the pastor (or the pastor could follow the schedule in the bulletin) and he would come up to preach for his allotted 35 minutes.
That day, I suggested that we unite our visions for the service, plan earlier and get on the same page.
The pastor said no.
He didn’t want to do that because he often didn’t know what he was going to be talking about on Sunday until the Saturday night before. (Confession: neither did I on Wednesdays and this was the conversation that changed that.)
I remember the sound of crickets in that moment. It was as if we had stumbled into some kind of sitcom.
The pastor and worship pastor need identical vision. It’s important on so many levels and can typically be measured by looking at the worship service and how it is planned. Let’s quickly hit a few reasons why that is.
Follow the Leader…Which One?
The faces seen by the church congregation more often than any other leaders on staff are the worship leader and pastor. It’s about 50/50, which is why they are the perceived leaders of the church.
The worship pastor should not be deciding on music and flow independent of the pastor’s direction. The senior pastor is the one responsible for the services, so his leadership should be clear over what happens there. Planning ahead of time not only ensures that the worship pastor and pastor have identical vision, but it allows the correct person to lead: the pastor.
Two Visions is Di-Vision
When the worship leader and pastor share an identical vision, it creates a sense of purpose in a church. Without that sense, it can feel as if there are really two churches present every Sunday morning: the church that likes the worship pastor’s vision best and the one that likes the senior pastor’s vision best.
This creates an atmosphere more ripe for division. If the people perceive that you do not share the same values and priorities or if they sense that there is a struggle for decision-making authority, the end is near, my friend. There’s a church split in your future…and it will be bananas. (Rimshot)
Sound crazy? You can see the same effect on children in situations where parents have divorced and refuse to work together. The kids feel they have to choose a favorite and eventually will drift away from the other parent.
The same happens in churches when the worship pastor and pastor are struggling for decision-making authority.
Identical Vision Affects Church Goals
When a single person has a great idea, it’s a great idea. When several people share a great idea, it’s a movement. There’s no doubt that a team who shares a common goal can reach that goal with greater ease and speed than a few individuals on their own.
For a better flow of services, more engaged people, and a stronger community impact, you need teammates. God designed us to do just about everything in community relationships anyway, so why not embrace it?
They always say that “two heads are better than one,” right? What if there were 10 heads? Well, you’d have a Hydra…but a really good Hydra doing good things. So, it’s a Church Hydra. Whatever.
If the pastor and the worship leader don’t share an identical vision for your church, it may be time to go to them and have a chat about it. That conversation may be the first step in a series of steps that help your congregation go from stagnant to mobilized for Kingdom action!