QUESTION: If you were a senior pastor would you have anything to say about the songs and chorus selection of the worship team?
ANSWER: You bet! I’d have lots to say. In fact I believe the senior pastor should be the final judge of which songs we sing and which we don’t. Not just to coordinate the music with the preaching topic (that approach can be argued either way) but because music is a powerful channel for teaching theology to the people—and if a senior pastor is not interested in the theology the people are getting he or she should go hang drywall for a living.
In fact music may be a more powerful delivery system for theology than preaching, though most pastors hate to hear me say that. After all, how many people will be repeating a phrase from your sermon ten years from now? You already know they’ll be humming phrases from their music. So the musical delivery system endures longer than preaching. And that’s not all. Music enters the heart sometimes while bypassing the mind. That is, music can become a part of us without being critically examined for its soundness in theology. This is why many churches today sing songs totally out of sync with their theology. They like the tune but have never seriously examined what the lyrics say (or more important what they don’t say—the “null curriculum.”) Most churches have never seriously examined what they sing compared to what they believe. They chose songs for musical delight, popularity, or (more likely) the mood they create.
This is why I think the senior pastor should be the final word on what we sing. It is as important (I personally thing more important) than what will be preached.
So if a senior pastor would actually take charge pf the first half of worship what policies might he or she implement? Here are three policies to consider:
OK these are three policies a senior pastor might consider implementing to return to the role of Chief Theological Officer of the local church—including worship. Thank God an increasing number of pastors are no longer satisfied at being a “guest speaker in their own church” delegating and ignoring what happens during the first half of the service. They no longer are happy to “show up to preach” in the last half of service. These pastors are coming to realize that the first half of the service may influence their people as much (or more) than the last half. These pastors are getting re-involved in the whole worship service. Many worship leaders are going to hate it. But it will be good for the church.
© 2006, Keith Drury
Keith Drury served The Wesleyan Church headquarters in Christian Education and Youth leadership for 24 years before becoming a professor of religion at Indiana Wesleyan University. He is the author of more than a dozen books of practical spirituality, including Holiness for Ordinary People, Common Ground and Ageless Faith. Keith Drury wrote the Tuesday Column for 17 years (1995-2012), and many articles can be found on his blog “Drury Writing.”
Keith Drury retired from full time teaching in 2012. Keith is married to Sharon and has two adult sons and several grandchildren. He is retired in Florida with Sharon and enjoys cycling.