I wanna' say thanks to those of you who have stuck with the whole Sunday Team series. I hope these posts were a help to worship leaders and pastors alike!
To wrap up the series, I wanna' offer some very practical tips for worship leaders AND pastors. If you've read through the whole series, you might have realized that your ministry needs some work. I encourage you to try some of these steps! We'll kick off with some recommendations for worship leaders.
HANGOUTS ARE IMPORTANT
Maybe it’s a weekly lunch or your families get together for a cookout; maybe it’s going to a movie or catching up one morning over coffee. These aren’t ministry meetings - they’re just times where you and your pastor can be yourselves and get to know each other better. Here are some ways to make hangouts happen.
Be the initiator. You create the hang. Your pastor is very busy and really doesn't need another thing to plan. Take the initiative and look for ways you two can hangout.
Be honest. Many pastors break out in hives when asked to lunch. Why? Because nine times out ten, that lunch means someone is upset and wants to talk. For your hangouts, let your pastor know there's no agenda - it's just a time to catch up.
Be realistic. If you've conflicts with your pastor in the past, the hangout may be a little harder to pull off. Confess you’ve been way too negative and dramatic in the past and you want to do a better job of supporting your leader.
Make it a priority to keep in touch with your pastor. A text or email is often the perfect way to make sure you’re up-to-date on what’s going on in the ministry. Don’t be a nuisance, but do be diligent.
Check in WITH the pastor. Try to find out a time during the week where your pastor is the most free to discuss or think through church planning. This isn't a long conversation; just a heads-up communique to make sure you're on the same page.
Check in FOR the pastor.
Sometimes, the check-in is more beneficial to your pastor than it is for you. Worship leaders with particularly obsessive or detail-oriented pastors will bless their bosses by checking-in. If this is your situation, make a point to contact your pastor a couple times each week as an update on what you're doing and planning. It will make your pastor's life a lot easier!
Check in TO BUILD UP the pastor.
Ever get one of those random texts that say “You’re awesome!” or “I believe in you!”? They feel great, don’t they? Your pastor doesn’t get many of those. We ought to be sending one of those to our leaders every single week. A simple “you can do it” will work wonders in a stressed out pastor’s life.
BE GOOD AT YOUR JOB
Your pastor is also your boss. And as a rule, bosses doesn’t enjoy cleaning up after their employees. If you’re a relational wreck or seriously disorganized, that stuff will come back to your pastor and will hurt your relationship. You can ensure a lot more peace if your work is done with excellence.
Handle conflicts. If you’re bad at counseling, get better at it. If you’ve got two bandmates that want to kill each other, get in there. There’s nothing wrong for calling in help when you need it, but too many worship leaders pull the ripcord when things get too tough. And that usually means the conflict ends up on the pastors desk.
Have an answer. Read about worship leading. Think about it. Plan it. Theorize on it. Spend time getting wise about what you're doing because sooner or later, you’ll get pushback on something and if you don’t have a good answer for it, you’re gonna take a hit. Engaging your mind about your ministry is sure-fire way to be good at what you do.
Take on hard things. Most pastors don't like the status quo. They like growth. They like challenge. They like success. If you want to good at your job, take on (or even) create projects that require you to raise the bar for yourself.
BE IN THEIR CORNER
Supporters come and go, and there's not a pastor alive with a 100% satisfaction rating. Leaders needs people in their corner who will back up the hard choices and run defense when needed. Your pastor needs you to be a personal friend and a passionate fighter. Don’t back down when people badmouth the leadership. Back 'em up.
Push people toward hard conversations. People complain about the pastor to you because it’s safer that way. When they’re complaining to you, they can say whatever they want and avoid meeting the pastor face-to-face. To be in your pastor’s corner, encourage people to take their concerns to the source. Make sure they know that you have faith that the pastor can help them understand the issue better.
Repeat what matters. When your pastor says something that’s important to you, say it out loud. Affirm right then for the both of you. If it's resonating with you, it'll probably resonate with the congregation too, so make a point of letting your pastor know!
Reaffirm your leader. On a regular basis (I'd recommend once-a-month) tell your pastor that you support the ministry and that you're invested in what the church is doing. It will be be a constant source of encouragement for your pastor.
SAY YES MORE THAN YOU SAY NO
You’re not going to agree with everything your pastor does. Nonetheless, be a positive co-minister and make sure you’re FOR more than you’re AGAINST. For what it's worth, if you're saying "no" constantly at your church, you might be in the wrong place.
Learn to know the difference. There’s a big difference between being asked to do something you don’t like and something that runs contrary to scripture. If your pastor is asking you to do something that doesn’t line up with God’s Word, grab your Bible and fight for clarity. However, if your pastor asks you to do something that’s not your favorite thing, DO IT ANYWAY.
Know how to fight fair. Should you hit a big issue that must be battled out, learn to argue without letting your emotions take over. Believe it or not, your pastor almost always wants the same growth and health that you want. You just disagree on how to get there.
Be obvious in your support. Find ways to constantly say these words to your pastor: “You’re my pastor. I support you. I'll follow your lead.” Your pastor will never get over needing that sort of encouragement. If you can’t say it in good faith, maybe it's time to move to another spot.
The series ends next week with a final encouragement for pastors who want to improve their relationships as well!