Christians are held to a higher standard. As church leaders, we should not only hold ourselves to that standard, but to one that is even higher. Because of this, I believe there are plenty of things that worship pastors need to stop doing immediately. Recently, I’ve seen plenty of things that helped me narrow it down to my top three.
Insulting other worship styles
Recently, I’ve seen a mass amount of articles attacking modern worship. To be fair, I’ve seen some from the other end of the spectrum as well. One such blogger* has recently published reasons that we need to use hymnals, organs, and strictly older music in church. Opinions are fine, but never at the expense of being negative towards other styles of worship music. These articles are usually written with some sort of bitterness, anger, or hatred, and that is never OK. All styles of music can be worshipful to God. Some are more effective at reaching people in your area, but nothing can be gained by attacking other styles. I truly do not understand what some worship leaders are doing here. I feel as if they believe that one day, God will look them in the eye and thank them for attacking others. It’s not Biblical and it’s downright wrong. We’re all on the same side. Stop.
*You’ll notice I used no links or names. If you want to find them, you can. However, I will not link to the examples. There is no scriptural basis in the articles and no reason to send anyone to read something so bitter, angry, and hateful.
Saying yes to everything
I’ve been to some worship services structured around God, His worship, and bringing people closer to Him. I’ve also been to some worship services that seemed to not be designed for anything in particular. What I’ve noticed is that the worship services structured around God are focused. They’re strategic and designed specifically, through the work of prayer and the Spirit’s guidance, to bring people closer to Him. The ones that are unfocused, unhelpful, and designed around something else are generally designed for one purpose: to make the insiders happy. These tend to be facilitated by worship pastors that can’t say no. Here are some things I’ve seen used in a worship service that you HAVE to say no to, unless there is a very clear strategic purpose:
“Can my child sing jingle bells in the service? He’d really like to.”
“Can I sing a special that is not quite what we believe, but it will get a great response?”
“Can I read the footprints poem during the announcement time?”
Now again, there may be a time to use these things. You may feel that God is guiding you to use something like this. But worship pastors, hear me here: You do NOT get to say yes just to make people happy. If you can’t say no, for any reason, it’s time to move on. Honestly, if you can’t say no, you may not be cut out to be a pastor, or your church environment won’t allow you to say no. Either way, you need to seek some serious guidance about what you need to do.
Thinking worship means only music
As worship pastors, we have a huge job. The problem is that many of our ranks have boiled down worship to mean “leading music.” That’s definitely part of the job. However, our job is to lead worship. To lead means to bring followers to somewhere you are going yourself. You have to be worshipping. You also have to guide others into worship in other areas. This means being able to educate people about what worship is, what the Bible says about it, and what it means in their lives. This goes way beyond just playing some chords on Sunday morning, or leading a band practice. It means that you, as a pastor, need to “equip God’s people to do His work, and build up the church” (Ephesians 4:12). If being a worship pastor was just leading music, it would be a much easier job.