Posted 5 years 277 days ago ago by Doug Lawrence 0 Comments
It can get lost in the shuffle sometimes, but establishing for whom you work can lead to more success in your ministry.
• For whom do you work?
The Senior Pastor
There are many things that get in the way of creating harmony (no pun intended) in the church music work environment. The most common one is an attitude by a staff member that suggests that he/she knows more than the senior pastor. I have been advising church musicians for over thirty years to wake up and smell the roses on this one. This is NOT a contest. If it were, the pastor would win every time! Our job is to submit respectfully to the authority of the person God has placed in the position above us.
Every one of us has encountered times when we absolutely understood something in a way that completely escapes the knowledge base or experience of those we serve. That being said, our job is to give input on what we consider to be the truth about the situation and then back off—I mean BACK OFF! Have I ever had a misstep on this one? Oh, not more than a hundred or so times. I'm a slow learner, but I'm starting to get it!
This Is Employment...Not Sainthood!
Yes, you're called to ministry, but that doesn't mean you're infallible. We're still just servants who sometimes get paid to do the work of God. Every day you have this employment you should fall on your knees and thank God that someone has recognized your call. That's a really big deal—honor it!
Enjoy every moment you have to serve God and pay for your living lifestyle at the same time. Even if you feel you're way underpaid, still you are being honored for your obedience to God's plan for your life. That fact alone places a heavy responsibility on your daily dealings with all with whom you come in contact.
Yes, you work for God—that should be a given. He is in charge of your life and beliefs. No other person has the right to dictate what you believe. Still, God has placed you where you are to learn more than you teach. This one fact often escapes those of us who are in ministry. When the Bible says, "Honor your father and mother," it means your heavenly father too. He has a plan for you, and you must be a constant nonanxious presence before Him when it comes to taking instructions. Inform your relationship with God with careful prayer, meditation, and reading practices. God is talking—are you listening?
The Board of Elders
Sometimes the organization of a church is all staff-driven, but make no mistake—church lay leadership is responsible for the outcomes of the institution they serve. If you want their support and trust, you must make sure you never do an end-run around them. With your pastor's guidance, make sure you are constantly informing them of your goals and progression toward those goals. They should never be blind-sided by your decisions. Respecting the leadership of your church ensures their support of key elements of your ministry. It's more than respect—it's the right thing to do!
For those of us who have lived through (or are still living through) the so-called "worship wars," the congregation is often referred to as "THEY." This is a sad commentary on how we have dealt with the issues of differing tastes and styles in worship. Congregations are not looking for us to convince them they are right or wrong. They are looking for us to encourage their participation in worship. The more we try to force them into new ways of worshipping, the more they will resist those changes. We are not arbiters of taste; we are servants of the body of Christ. Our job is to bring freshness to the experience of worship in ways that will engage the very people we serve. That may mean that we have an educational role to play—but never a dictatorial function.
All this by way of saying, heads up on the important stuff. We work in a sometimes highly sophisticated church culture that demands our attention. Grace abounds, but it rarely keeps us from getting into trouble in the church. We sometimes need to rethink, re-tool, and clean up the way we're doing ministry in order to be truly effective in God's work. I promise to go easier next time—I promise.
Doug Lawrence, internationally recognized speaker, author, and advisor, helps churches assess and improve their skillfulness in creating engaging worship experiences by utilizing his more than 35 years of "deep trench" worship leadership in prominent mainline churches. has been a consultant to church leaders for 35 years and is anxious to be helpful to you in leadership, musical, and staffing considerations. Or, if you wish, call 650.207.8240 for assessment information and scheduling.
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