PASTORING THE SINGERS AND MUSICIANS
The singers and musicians are unique people in the church. They
share the platform with the pastor, which can be a very
challenging dynamic. However, by focusing on the concept of
"shepherding a flock", there are ways to avoid undue friction.
Yes, singers and musicians can be tempermental. Their artistic
natures pretty much guarantee that. However, more than
anything else, they are sheep who want and need to know security.
And their "sensitive" natures really respond to the slightest word
of encouragement. Recently, I was very pleased with the effort of
one of our worship leaders. After the service, I went to him
privately (which I have found they appreciate more than public
praise), put my hand on his shoulder and looked him in the eye. I
said, "I am proud of you. You effectively led the congregation in
worship today". This young man had led many times before.
Sometimes he's done well and other times he could have done
better. Nevertheless, I was determined that he would hear
affirming words from me.
Could he get a swelled head? No way! I won't let him! If he was
to exhibit arrogance or ugly pride, as a Pastor, it would be my
responsibility to sit down with him and gently correct him. A
Pastor should be quick to encourage and quick to guard the sheep
from making tragic mistakes in judgement.
Whether a Pastor has skills in music or not, he will be the
primary worshiper in the house. God is looking for his
under-shepherd to lead his people. He may not sing well, but he
will love Jesus with his voice, his hands, and most importantly, his
heart. His skills in music are not important to the flock. What is
important is that he will worship and will encourage others by his
I met with a group of our singers and musicians one day in an
open discussion about improvements for the worship ministry. A
few days later, one of the singers sent me an email that touched
my heart. He thanked me for listening and said that just listening
made the pastor's role relevant! No earth-shaking revelation came
out of the discussion time, but, relationally, listening to them was
an answer in itself.
Although I studied classical piano for 17 years and trumpet for
another 9, I had a lot to learn about playing for worship. My
success was greatly due to the wonderful mentors who had
confidence in me. I'll never forget Pastor Greg saying to me ,
"You can do it. I believe in you."
The under-shepherd that God will reward for faithfulness will be
the one who cared for the sheep. He will be the one who truly
loved enough to show patience over many irritations. Things can
go wrong but there is always next time. A Pastor may try to
"make a point" but if that point damages his relationship with a
singer or musician, he has lost ground.
We need to remember how Jesus, the Good Shepherd, treats us:
"He makes me lie down in green pastures." (Psalm 23:2) It
follows, therefore, that a Pastor clears the environment of fear,
tension, and irritation.
"He restores my soul." (Psalm 23:2) Even when someone messes
up, a Pastor can be known for restoring a soul.
"He guides me in the paths of righteousness." (Psalm 23:3) A
Pastor's care of his sheep goes beyond a good-looking, slick sound
but rests in godly guidance.
Further to this last point, the Pastor guards against unfair
comparisons elicited by recorded worship events (edited and
enhanced, I might add). "Those who compare themselves among
themselves are not wise". (2 Corinthians 10:12). Ouch!
To pastor the singers and musicians requires patience and love.
Hopefully, a musically savvy pastor can add a big dose of personal
understanding of the dynamics and limitations of ministry in a
local worship ministry. However, every pastor - every
under-shepherd- can count on God for the necessary anointing to
patiently care for these unique members of the flock.
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