Working under the leadership of a pastor can be a lot of hard work, but with God's grace and a little wisdom, it can also be one of the most rewarding ministry relationships you'll ever have.
I’ll never forget the Monday morning staff meeting. We were sitting around, waiting for our weekly recap of our service but our senior pastor was late. Imagine our surprise when he stumbled into the room looking like death-warmed-over. His shirt was wrinkled and his hair mussed. There were dark circles underneath his eyes.
It had been a hard week. There had been quite a few counseling sessions that week, hospital visits, budget meetings and a big, busy Sunday service. We made small talk, but eventually went around the table so ministry leaders could review Sunday's ministries. When it came to the senior pastor, he looked up and said this,
"I slept with my shoes on. That's how I felt about yesterday."
There were snickers around the table, but I was baffled. He told us he got home from church, ate a sandwich, walked to his room and fell onto the bed fully clothed and slept for over two hours. Once we stopped laughing, he explained that by the time he got home, he was just done. For him, that was the best (and only) thing he could do to finish up a week of ministry. It was a necessary and honest reaction to the completion of a ministry week.
Pastors don’t feel the same as musicians after serving. Preaching is exhausting - way more exhausting than playing five songs. Here's why: Your pastor doesn’t have a team to cover mistakes. Your pastor doesn't have a group up there who can pick up the slack when something goes wrong. It's the pastor - up there, all alone. There's no high fives when they're done. No hangout in the green room over donuts like the band does. That’s why most pastors celebrate by disconnecting - a quite afternoon at home, a couple of beers before bed, a dumb action movie on their laptop. This seems strange to us - musicians wanna’ party after they play - but for most pastors, it's a survival mechanism.
It may seem harsh or weird, but I promise this tip will make for a better pastor/worship leader relationship: STAY OUT OF THE WAY AFTER CHURCH. Once the service is over, let the pastor cope and recuperate - don't add stress by demanding you both spend Sunday night talking about every aspect of the service. By respecting your pastors need for some disconnection, you'll build tremendous relational capital for when you meet back up during the week. Giving your pastor space is a great investment in your ministry partnership.