Pastoring Worship Leaders w/ Mark Harris

Mark Harris, the Worship Pastor at Gateway Church, sat down with Loop Community Founder Matt McCoy to talk about pastoring worship leaders, fatherhood, and Gateway Worship’s latest albums.

Worship Leading vs. Artistry

Matt: “I’ve talked to a lot of worship pastors who have always dreamed of being an artist and touring, like you did with 4Him. Now that you’ve done both worlds, how have you balanced those two things?”

Mark: They’re very different, but they’re alike because God uses both of those worlds. God uses the artist that have songs that challenge and encourage people. And God uses the worship pastor who’s primary purpose is to be on platform and point people upward. I explain it to worship pastors that talk to me about artistry, as an artist I had a message to sing to people that was encouraging, sometimes challenging, sometimes a sermon in a song. I would sing that song and draw them to me so that they could get the message I had. Worship is not like that at all. Worship is: I have one hand up and one hand out. The goal is to get them to Him.

Matt: “Yeah, worship leading is like me being a father to may kids. If I just sat down on the floor and played Lego by myself while they watched, that’s not it. They want me to play with them. Let’s build things together instead of them just watching me.”

Mark: “Yes, that’s great. I want the people that I’m in front of when I’m leading worship to feel like they’re in the living room with me and we’re having fellowship time with God. If they feel like they’re separated watching me or in a theater watching a movie, then there’s a disconnect. It’s a delicate balance, because I do think that to lead people into God’s presence you have to be willing to go there first.”

Advice for Worship Leaders

Matt: “What advice would you give a young worship leader if they want to be a songwriter

Mark: “I’d say we really don’t own anything. We’re just stewarding what God places in our hands. Never make it so much about you. If you focus on Jesus and others, you’ll easily love yourself because you’ll get so much fulfillment out of that. Never be afraid if you’re a young worship leader or songwriter to celebrate the success or gifts of others. It never minimizes you. Be willing to push others forward. That person will always shine. I’ve learned that you can’t go low enough, you can’t walk in enough humility. The more willingness I have to humble myself, God always takes whatever I offer there and He gives me more joy, fulfillment and more peace. I’ve met so many people that struggle there because their identity is not healthy. Keep your eyes on Jesus, focus on others, be that person that gets so much joy out of lifting others up, and you will never have to try to push yourself forward.”

Click below to watch the rest of the interview.

Be sure to listen to Gateway Worship’s latest album Crowns Down wherever you stream music, and download the Master Tracks on