What every Pastor wants to say to their Worship Leader


I had a great conversation with worship pastor David Walker a few years ago that stirred my heart. The question posed was, “Could you be a worship pastor if you lost your voice and hands?” In other words, if your talent was taken from you, could you lead in worship? Just days after our conversation, I was laying in the bed watching the Academy Awards with my wife. Billy Crystal was hosting the show due to a last-minute cancelation by Eddie Murphy. Crystal has hosted many times in years past and always does a phenomenal job with his quick wit, articulate tongue, and engaging monologs. I was blown away by his talent as I watched him whip thousands into a frenzy with his talent and skill.

What saddened me was the conversation with my wife that followed. We both agreed that Billy could take the pulpit in many churches today and offer up the same whit, articulation, and persuasive speech and many would leave the building talking about his “anointing.” Talent and anointing are two different things. The best worship leaders are the ones who learn the art of ministering to the Lord without a guitar, a crowd or lights.  These are the ones who face the wall in the “secret place” and join in with heaven.The human soul is amazing. It is a God-given processing system, where our mind, will, and emotions parse the “every-day-ness” of life. It can also be dangerous as well because worship (musical worship particularly) is designed to engage the soul, enabling a response to God that is demonstrative, contemplative, and full of impact. However, the Bible teaches that the Word of God is sharper than any double-edged sword, dividing the soul from the Spirit. The Word of God separates the things that “feel” right from the things that are right.

Below are three things that I wish every Senior Pastor could say to their worship leader.

1: We need a Worship Father, not just a Worship Leader. Fathers are concerned with passing on DNA rather than transferring information or wowing a crowd. Get to know the people you are leading in worship. Your true gifts will be celebrated more in the context of family than fanfare.

2: Your private worship to the Lord is more important than your public worship. Sharing what the Lord is showing you in your intimate times of worship open’s our hearts and enables us to follow you to the throne of God.

3: Your blog, albums, and itinerary should be exporting the best of your heart. It is not just a tool that creates a platform to make your name greater.

4: There will always be a need for more resources, so be faithful with what you have. If the lights, new sound system, and equipment are the only things that can make you better, then you may be missing the point.

5. The journey is the destination. The grass is often greener over the septic tank! Bloom where you are planted and learn the art of leading a family and not just the crowds on the road. The crowds don’t go home with you, but your family does.

Rich Butler is the Lead Pastor at Hope Church in Spartanburg, SC.  He loves solving problems, stewarding the dreams of others, & drinking coffee on his front porch. An entrepreneur at heart, Rich loves to pursue innovative means of reaching people & restoring lives.