Church Issues, Pastoring

3 Things Senior Pastors & Worship Leaders Must Do To Work Well Together

I just got through with a worship planning meeting with the worship pastors of the different @Biltmore campuses. It was such a joy to pray, plan, talk etc. about ways to facilitate the corporate worship of our great God! They are young, talented, spiritually mature, and passionate. I feel sharpened and challenged being around them. They are also being coached and nurtured by the long-time Biltmore worship pastor, Carl Setterlind.  Carl has been at Biltmore for 21 years, and he and I have served together since I came to Biltmore in 2008. Carl and I have a lot of mutual respect for each other and serve effectively together. Let me share a few reasons I think are indispensable:


Build & Protect Trust
Granted,  trust is built over many days in many different situations. Trust is defined as “a firm belief in the reliability, truth, & ability of someone.” While no one is perfect, I have a ‘firm belief in the reliability’ of Carl, and he of me. In many ways, this is simply practicing Christianity. But specifically in the pastor/worship pastor dynamic, this includes loyalty, work ethic, professional growth, respect, forgiveness, and integrity of keeping your word. Remember, the pastor/worship pastor relational dynamic is a very public one – so you are modeling Christian relational maturity to your people. When tensions or disagreements arise, talk to each other, never about each other. (Ephesians 4:25-32)

Continue to grow as worship leaders
I greatly appreciate Carl’s passion and discipline to stay out front of current worship trends (whether good or bad trends). It is also vital that the pastor grow as a worshipper and worship leader. The pastor is the worship leader of the church and must be able to dialogue about new songs and how they will mesh with the weekend’s service. Pastor, have you are articulated your theological convictions and methodological philosophies to those God has gifted to lead in the musical part of the worship service? They are not mind readers and the more you grow as a worshipper and the more effectively you give guidance, the better all will be. (John 4:23-24)

Plan Together
This often is at one of two extremes that leads to unnecessary tension and disjointed services. On one hand are pastors who micromanage every aspect of the music ministry, and stifle the leadership, and creativity of gifted people he has been entrusted to lead. The other extreme, probably more prevalent, are pastors who give little to no guidance about the direction the music should go. My friend @jamesmacdonald said it well:

“Too often, busy senior pastors assume that the person who can lead the service is in the best position to plan it, but this is normally not the case. Too focused on his own preaching, or wrongly believing that musical know-how holds secrets that block his helpfulness, the-preacher often abandons service planning to the detriment of all. Many lead pastors with the smarts to get through seminary spend leisure time in study or listening to other preachers rather than staying on the front edge of current worship trends, good and bad. For this reason they feel unable to dialogue meaningfully about new songs and whether they will enhance or detract during this weekend’s worship. This leads frequently to the spectacle of an apparently random song list that was gathered on the basis of the leader’s song preference, capo dexterity, ease of key change, or other misplaced, though well-intentioned selection criteria. The lead pastor and his worship team should develop the service plan together. Partnership between those with musical gifts and those with theological training is essential.”

Hope this helps and would love to have your thoughts.


  1. just wanted to say Thank You for your message this morning July 28
    You stood by the word of God but yet you did not condemn anyone
    Our Nation is in trouble but only God can change

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