I’m blessed to work with a pastor who not only understands the importance of corporate worship, but also regularly stresses its importance to the congregation. He also participates in worship in the front row for all to see, which is a great model for the flock.
I realize that not all worship leaders have it this good. I know that there are pastors out there who don’t value what the worship leader brings to the church service, and that breaks my heart. In those cases, what should be a cooperative, collaborative relationship can become distant or even combative.
So even though I’m not that particular boat, I was encouraged to read Yancey Arrington’s post Five Reasons Why Pastors Should Read Worship Books. Yancey is a senior pastor who knows how important is it to have a deep understanding of corporate worship.
Yancey’s whole list is good, and well worth reading, but two of his points really grabbed my attention:
It will improve your communication about what corporate worship is to your congregants. Free your congregants from the ubiquitous error abounding in churches each Sunday that says worship equals music. Maybe the reason your church will be different is because a good book on worship finally helped you see that other elements such as the sermon, the offering, and the prayers are worship as well. It might lead you to stop calling your music leader the “worship pastor” or move you to continually help connect non-musical elements to the heart of corporate worship. It might lead you to do a lot of things you’re not currently doing or vice versa.
It will tell your worship leader that worship isn’t only important to him or her, but to you too. It’s a small but weighty token to have your worship teams see that you are interested in what they are interested in. And why shouldn’t you be? It’s worship we’re talking about. Reading worship books is one small way to communicate that you both want the same thing – to honor God and lead people in such a way that they have the best opportunity to honor him via corporate worship each week. So, as the one who oversees the element of “Worship via Preaching,” you also want to hone your ideas about worship for the sake of the church.
Really good stuff. Aside from his list of reasons, Yancey also offers a list of books on worship that would be good reading for any pastor or worship leader. Honestly, I’d have linked to his post just for the list of books. Go check it out.