Tips for Worship Leaders, From a Pastor’s Perspective

As a worship leader or worship pastor, having a good relationship with your senior pastor is very important for your worship ministry. We often hear about the relationship between a worship pastor and senior pastor becoming strained and negatively impacting both leaders, and sometimes even their church. Pastor Dave Davis sat down with Matt McCoy to talk about his tips for worship leaders to help them support and understand their senior pastor better.

1. Understand the Similarities

To have a better relationship with your senior pastor, Dave explained that it’s important to understand them and the similarities that worship leaders and pastors have.

Dave: “Senior pastors also have that seven day churn where they have to create something. I would want worship leaders to know that there is a similar exhaustion to that. We wonder if it’s fresh and if it’s going to hit anyone and if it will make a difference in their life. We’re similar in that way and I think that worship leaders often think that they’re different. We also have some of the same anxieties and tensions around being a leader.”

Whether it’s staff issues, organizational issues or creative issues, there are so many similarities to the two roles. It’s hard to be in front of people on stage. It’s a struggle that both go through. When you understand the similarities and the differences, it can help you understand your senior pastor to have empathy for them and begin to build the relationship.

2. Evaluate the Relationship

Dave: “If you can’t just get together and be together to talk about things church related, and things not church related, then I would focus on that. There needs to be a relationship. Every time I felt like I wasn’t leading a worship leader well, the relationship piece fell apart first.”

If you have noticed that your relationship with your senior pastor isn’t in a good place, first evaluate the relationship and get to the core of the issue. Have the hard conversation with them. It can feel like the other person may not be for you, but it may be the result of a lack of communication.

Dave: “On the lead pastor’s plate, there are a lot of expectations. Sometimes it isn’t always the ministry happening around worship. But the relationship between the two should be tight, so that what’s happening on stage is real.”

If you get to know your senior pastor, you will develop compassion for them and it can cover a lot of the small stuff that may be frustrating you right now. You don’t have to have a family relationship. You don’t need to be best friends. But if you can start loving them as a person, and figure out what wounds there are that may be hurting the relationship, it can have a huge impact for you.

Then, once you have evaluated and worked on what may be hurting the relationship, continue to keep a healthy feedback loop and dialogue between you both.

3. Encourage and Include Your Senior Pastor

There are many practical ways that a worship leader can build up and support their senior pastor. Doing these will strengthen the relationship and encourage your senior pastor to support the worship team as well.

Dave: “Don’t forget about the lead pastor. When soundcheck ends for the worship team, often times everyone clears out and the pastor is standing there wondering if anyone is going to check his mic or talk to them.”

Just by including your pastor in the soundcheck, and ask them if there’s anything they need from the band during the service can really encourage them.

Dave: “It has to feel authentic, but if there’s a moment in the service that connected with you, let your senior pastor know. It will really encourage them. There can be a normalcy that sets in that stops you from continuing to encourage your pastor.”

If your senior pastor came up to you after the service and said how great of a worship set you had, it would probably really encourage you. So be sure to do the same for them.

4. Keep Going

Dave finished the interview with a great piece of encouragement for worship leaders.

Dave: “Keep doing what you’re doing, and be as healthy a version of you as you possibly can. The church doesn’t need anymore unhealthy church leaders. We need leaders that take their personal and emotional care very seriously because this work is hard. Don’t give up on ‘I don’t know what’s next.’ Don’t let that cause you to give up. Please stay healthy: spiritually, emotionally, physically. Your relationships are dependent on it.”

Your relationship with your senior pastor can have a big impact on your life and your ministry. Comment below with how you build the relationship with your senior pastor. For the full interview, click the video below.