Worship Mythbuster: yes, worship leading is pastoring!

Do we lead worship to impress or engage people to life-change? Leading worship is actually part of any pastor’s heart if we look at it that way.

As worship leaders we provide a safe place to meet God. We design experiences that are based biblically on truth, decoding the culture while engaging people in drawing nearer to God.

What do you think: is worship leading pastoring or something else?

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Rich Kirkpatrick

Rich Kirkpatrick

Writer, Speaker, and Musician. Rich Kirkpatrick was recently rated #13 of the “Top 75 Religion Bloggers” by Newsmax.com, having also received recognition by Worship Leader Magazine as “Editor’s Choice” for the “Best of the Best” of blogs in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

30 comments

  1. I like where you’re going with this, Rich. I wish more WL’s had this perspective.
    Truth is, the position of “Worship Leader” is still such a new concept for the church that no overarching descriptive has really been reached. By that I mean that there doesn’t seem to be the same comprehension of all that the job entails as there is for, say, a senior pastor or even youth pastor. I.e., it’s a work in progress.

    The first 25 years of my ministry no one called what I did “Worship Leader.” I was a music minister. Then we went through the whole worship arts pastor; creative arts pastor; creative arts director and finally, at long last, we’ve arrived at worship leader, although too late for me to derive any benefit from the title, given that I now pastor a start-up church.

    But you…you, my friend, have a wonderful opportunity to influence your generation in the same way I did mine. I’ve told young WL’s before that what you get to do on weekends–the freedom you have to sing virtually any song/style/etc.–I, and others of my generation,won that. And it was a battle worth fighting.

    So what will be your battle? I believe it lies within the expression you articulated in your video, that being to train up a new generation to be more concerned with touching the Father’s heart than they are in touching people’s emotions. Because it’s really an individual thing. A passionate worshiper, giving all they have for the Father’s pleasure is something to behold. They are few and far between. But when you find one, you have the sense that God is smiling through an open heaven, calling the angelic host to gather around and bask in the beauty of a heart given entirely to Him.

    I love what you’re doing. Don’t stop. I’ve been in vocational worship ministry since 1971, and even though my role has now expanded to include pastoring and authoring, I have no intention of stopping. If I can ever be of assistance, please let me know.

    So blessed to call you friend.

    rg

    1. RG…thanks for the encouragement. A lot of investment on your part and others has indeed paved the way. I surely hope that is not forgotten as there is so much more to do. Let’s see life change, not just hairs standing up in our worship.

  2. I like where you’re going with this, Rich. I wish more WL’s had this perspective.
    Truth is, the position of “Worship Leader” is still such a new concept for the church that no overarching descriptive has really been reached. By that I mean that there doesn’t seem to be the same comprehension of all that the job entails as there is for, say, a senior pastor or even youth pastor. I.e., it’s a work in progress.
    The first 25 years of my ministry no one called what I did “Worship Leader.” I was a music minister. Then we went through the whole worship arts pastor; creative arts pastor; creative arts director and finally, at long last, we’ve arrived at worship leader, although too late for me to derive any benefit from the title, given that I now pastor a start-up church.
    But you…you, my friend, have a wonderful opportunity to influence your generation in the same way I did mine. I’ve told young WL’s before that what you get to do on weekends–the freedom you have to sing virtually any song/style/etc.–I, and others of my generation,won that. And it was a battle worth fighting.
    So what will be your battle? I believe it lies within the expression you articulated in your video, that being to train up a new generation to be more concerned with touching the Father’s heart than they are in touching people’s emotions. Because it’s really an individual thing. A passionate worshiper, giving all they have for the Father’s pleasure is something to behold. They are few and far between. But when you find one, you have the sense that God is smiling through an open heaven, calling the angelic host to gather around and bask in the beauty of a heart given entirely to Him.
    I love what you’re doing. Don’t stop. I’ve been in vocational worship ministry since 1971, and even though my role has now expanded to include pastoring and authoring, I have no intention of stopping. If I can ever be of assistance, please let me know.
    So blessed to call you friend.
    rg

    1. RG…thanks for the encouragement. A lot of investment on your part and others has indeed paved the way. I surely hope that is not forgotten as there is so much more to do. Let’s see life change, not just hairs standing up in our worship.

  3. I like where you’re going with this, Rich. I wish more WL’s had this perspective.
    Truth is, the position of “Worship Leader” is still such a new concept for the church that no overarching descriptive has really been reached. By that I mean that there doesn’t seem to be the same comprehension of all that the job entails as there is for, say, a senior pastor or even youth pastor. I.e., it’s a work in progress.

    The first 25 years of my ministry no one called what I did “Worship Leader.” I was a music minister. Then we went through the whole worship arts pastor; creative arts pastor; creative arts director and finally, at long last, we’ve arrived at worship leader, although too late for me to derive any benefit from the title, given that I now pastor a start-up church.

    But you…you, my friend, have a wonderful opportunity to influence your generation in the same way I did mine. I’ve told young WL’s before that what you get to do on weekends–the freedom you have to sing virtually any song/style/etc.–I, and others of my generation,won that. And it was a battle worth fighting.

    So what will be your battle? I believe it lies within the expression you articulated in your video, that being to train up a new generation to be more concerned with touching the Father’s heart than they are in touching people’s emotions. Because it’s really an individual thing. A passionate worshiper, giving all they have for the Father’s pleasure is something to behold. They are few and far between. But when you find one, you have the sense that God is smiling through an open heaven, calling the angelic host to gather around and bask in the beauty of a heart given entirely to Him.

    I love what you’re doing. Don’t stop. I’ve been in vocational worship ministry since 1971, and even though my role has now expanded to include pastoring and authoring, I have no intention of stopping. If I can ever be of assistance, please let me know.

    So blessed to call you friend.

    rg

    1. RG…thanks for the encouragement. A lot of investment on your part and others has indeed paved the way. I surely hope that is not forgotten as there is so much more to do. Let’s see life change, not just hairs standing up in our worship.

  4. I like where you’re going with this, Rich. I wish more WL’s had this perspective.
    Truth is, the position of “Worship Leader” is still such a new concept for the church that no overarching descriptive has really been reached. By that I mean that there doesn’t seem to be the same comprehension of all that the job entails as there is for, say, a senior pastor or even youth pastor. I.e., it’s a work in progress.

    The first 25 years of my ministry no one called what I did “Worship Leader.” I was a music minister. Then we went through the whole worship arts pastor; creative arts pastor; creative arts director and finally, at long last, we’ve arrived at worship leader, although too late for me to derive any benefit from the title, given that I now pastor a start-up church.

    But you…you, my friend, have a wonderful opportunity to influence your generation in the same way I did mine. I’ve told young WL’s before that what you get to do on weekends–the freedom you have to sing virtually any song/style/etc.–I, and others of my generation,won that. And it was a battle worth fighting.

    So what will be your battle? I believe it lies within the expression you articulated in your video, that being to train up a new generation to be more concerned with touching the Father’s heart than they are in touching people’s emotions. Because it’s really an individual thing. A passionate worshiper, giving all they have for the Father’s pleasure is something to behold. They are few and far between. But when you find one, you have the sense that God is smiling through an open heaven, calling the angelic host to gather around and bask in the beauty of a heart given entirely to Him.

    I love what you’re doing. Don’t stop. I’ve been in vocational worship ministry since 1971, and even though my role has now expanded to include pastoring and authoring, I have no intention of stopping. If I can ever be of assistance, please let me know.

    So blessed to call you friend.

    rg

    1. RG…thanks for the encouragement. A lot of investment on your part and others has indeed paved the way. I surely hope that is not forgotten as there is so much more to do. Let’s see life change, not just hairs standing up in our worship.

  5. I like where you’re going with this, Rich. I wish more WL’s had this perspective.
    Truth is, the position of “Worship Leader” is still such a new concept for the church that no overarching descriptive has really been reached. By that I mean that there doesn’t seem to be the same comprehension of all that the job entails as there is for, say, a senior pastor or even youth pastor. I.e., it’s a work in progress.

    The first 25 years of my ministry no one called what I did “Worship Leader.” I was a music minister. Then we went through the whole worship arts pastor; creative arts pastor; creative arts director and finally, at long last, we’ve arrived at worship leader, although too late for me to derive any benefit from the title, given that I now pastor a start-up church.

    But you…you, my friend, have a wonderful opportunity to influence your generation in the same way I did mine. I’ve told young WL’s before that what you get to do on weekends–the freedom you have to sing virtually any song/style/etc.–I, and others of my generation,won that. And it was a battle worth fighting.

    So what will be your battle? I believe it lies within the expression you articulated in your video, that being to train up a new generation to be more concerned with touching the Father’s heart than they are in touching people’s emotions. Because it’s really an individual thing. A passionate worshiper, giving all they have for the Father’s pleasure is something to behold. They are few and far between. But when you find one, you have the sense that God is smiling through an open heaven, calling the angelic host to gather around and bask in the beauty of a heart given entirely to Him.

    I love what you’re doing. Don’t stop. I’ve been in vocational worship ministry since 1971, and even though my role has now expanded to include pastoring and authoring, I have no intention of stopping. If I can ever be of assistance, please let me know.

    So blessed to call you friend.

    rg

    1. RG…thanks for the encouragement. A lot of investment on your part and others has indeed paved the way. I surely hope that is not forgotten as there is so much more to do. Let’s see life change, not just hairs standing up in our worship.

  6. It’s easy to sing songs. It’s another thing to live them. I feel that as a worship pastor that’s my challenge. To inspire and teach the church to live out what we sing, or else we’re the stereotypical, hypocritical church that the world has come to know. This has convicted me in the past couple of years to disciple and care for the crowd off the stage more and more. Great word, Rich.

  7. It’s easy to sing songs. It’s another thing to live them. I feel that as a worship pastor that’s my challenge. To inspire and teach the church to live out what we sing, or else we’re the stereotypical, hypocritical church that the world has come to know. This has convicted me in the past couple of years to disciple and care for the crowd off the stage more and more. Great word, Rich.

  8. It’s easy to sing songs. It’s another thing to live them. I feel that as a worship pastor that’s my challenge. To inspire and teach the church to live out what we sing, or else we’re the stereotypical, hypocritical church that the world has come to know. This has convicted me in the past couple of years to disciple and care for the crowd off the stage more and more. Great word, Rich.

  9. It’s easy to sing songs. It’s another thing to live them. I feel that as a worship pastor that’s my challenge. To inspire and teach the church to live out what we sing, or else we’re the stereotypical, hypocritical church that the world has come to know. This has convicted me in the past couple of years to disciple and care for the crowd off the stage more and more. Great word, Rich.

  10. It’s easy to sing songs. It’s another thing to live them. I feel that as a worship pastor that’s my challenge. To inspire and teach the church to live out what we sing, or else we’re the stereotypical, hypocritical church that the world has come to know. This has convicted me in the past couple of years to disciple and care for the crowd off the stage more and more. Great word, Rich.

  11. Well Rich as usual you hit it on the head… Except for that background music ;). Anyways I think we have forgotten what pastoring is in general… Usually the flock to pastor ratio is 1:1 however in the church we have the unique opportunity of having a flock to pastor ration of 1:###. However I think if the church leadership does not recognize the worship leader as a pastor is where the problems come up. Like any group of leaders, they must be of one accord, one vision, with multiple avenues of achieving that vision.Everyone who is in place in leadership at a church is a pastor. Because they are in charge of shepherding the flock.

    So as far as engaging, of course, how can one shepherd or pastor if their focus is more on themselves and their fame or popularity than on the actual health of the flock. The pastor must be more than just aware, he must be immersed. How else is a flock dispersed or put in danger if the shepherd is not among them leading them and caring for them?

    1. Zach…for you, any new videos I will try to not cheese up the music bed. 😉

  12. Well Rich as usual you hit it on the head… Except for that background music ;). Anyways I think we have forgotten what pastoring is in general… Usually the flock to pastor ratio is 1:1 however in the church we have the unique opportunity of having a flock to pastor ration of 1:###. However I think if the church leadership does not recognize the worship leader as a pastor is where the problems come up. Like any group of leaders, they must be of one accord, one vision, with multiple avenues of achieving that vision.Everyone who is in place in leadership at a church is a pastor. Because they are in charge of shepherding the flock.
    So as far as engaging, of course, how can one shepherd or pastor if their focus is more on themselves and their fame or popularity than on the actual health of the flock. The pastor must be more than just aware, he must be immersed. How else is a flock dispersed or put in danger if the shepherd is not among them leading them and caring for them?

    1. Zach…for you, any new videos I will try to not cheese up the music bed. 😉

  13. Well Rich as usual you hit it on the head… Except for that background music ;). Anyways I think we have forgotten what pastoring is in general… Usually the flock to pastor ratio is 1:1 however in the church we have the unique opportunity of having a flock to pastor ration of 1:###. However I think if the church leadership does not recognize the worship leader as a pastor is where the problems come up. Like any group of leaders, they must be of one accord, one vision, with multiple avenues of achieving that vision.Everyone who is in place in leadership at a church is a pastor. Because they are in charge of shepherding the flock.

    So as far as engaging, of course, how can one shepherd or pastor if their focus is more on themselves and their fame or popularity than on the actual health of the flock. The pastor must be more than just aware, he must be immersed. How else is a flock dispersed or put in danger if the shepherd is not among them leading them and caring for them?

    1. Zach…for you, any new videos I will try to not cheese up the music bed. 😉

  14. Well Rich as usual you hit it on the head… Except for that background music ;). Anyways I think we have forgotten what pastoring is in general… Usually the flock to pastor ratio is 1:1 however in the church we have the unique opportunity of having a flock to pastor ration of 1:###. However I think if the church leadership does not recognize the worship leader as a pastor is where the problems come up. Like any group of leaders, they must be of one accord, one vision, with multiple avenues of achieving that vision.Everyone who is in place in leadership at a church is a pastor. Because they are in charge of shepherding the flock.

    So as far as engaging, of course, how can one shepherd or pastor if their focus is more on themselves and their fame or popularity than on the actual health of the flock. The pastor must be more than just aware, he must be immersed. How else is a flock dispersed or put in danger if the shepherd is not among them leading them and caring for them?

    1. Zach…for you, any new videos I will try to not cheese up the music bed. 😉

  15. Well Rich as usual you hit it on the head… Except for that background music ;). Anyways I think we have forgotten what pastoring is in general… Usually the flock to pastor ratio is 1:1 however in the church we have the unique opportunity of having a flock to pastor ration of 1:###. However I think if the church leadership does not recognize the worship leader as a pastor is where the problems come up. Like any group of leaders, they must be of one accord, one vision, with multiple avenues of achieving that vision.Everyone who is in place in leadership at a church is a pastor. Because they are in charge of shepherding the flock.

    So as far as engaging, of course, how can one shepherd or pastor if their focus is more on themselves and their fame or popularity than on the actual health of the flock. The pastor must be more than just aware, he must be immersed. How else is a flock dispersed or put in danger if the shepherd is not among them leading them and caring for them?

    1. Zach…for you, any new videos I will try to not cheese up the music bed. 😉

  16. […] at RKWeblog.com Rich is having a conversation about worship leading being a pastoral function. Your thoughts? […]

  17. […] at RKWeblog.com Rich is having a conversation about worship leading being a pastoral function. Your thoughts? […]

  18. […] at RKWeblog.com Rich is having a conversation about worship leading being a pastoral function. Your thoughts? […]

  19. […] at RKWeblog.com Rich is having a conversation about worship leading being a pastoral function. Your thoughts? […]

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