1. Follow The Leader
In this situation, the worship leader takes their cue from whoever is speaking in a particular service.
At first, this may seem like the Top-Down CEO model we saw above, but it’s not, because of one big difference – there is a cooperative spirit that respects the gifts of all leaders.
On teams like this, there’s a leadership meeting (or several meetings) in advance of each service in which the pastor/speaker lets the worship leader know some combination of
- What the topic of the sermon will be
- What scripture passages will be read
- What order of service will fit best
- And what types of (or specific) songs they’d like to use
Often, one pre-service meeting will be enough, and the pastor won’t know the full song set until they’re sung during the church service. In other situations, there will be follow-up meetings to go over a preliminary song list that will be approved and/or tweaked. Sometimes they’ll have a full dress rehearsal with follow-up changes.
What all of these variations have in common is that the pastor/teacher takes the lead in a cooperative relationship with the worship leader.
2. The Collaborative Partnership
In this style of leadership, the pastor/teacher and worship leader contribute equally, collaborating on all aspects of the service.
Some weeks they realize that the sermon needs to go longer, so the worship time will be cut short, while other weeks they decide to feature a longer time in worship through music, topped off by a word of encouragement or affirmation.
No one has the final say, and each leader adds something to the overall mix.
3. Independent, But Cooperative
This may be the most common leadership style of all – especially in smaller churches.
In this situation, the pastor is in charge of the preaching/teaching, while the worship leader oversees the music – and neither knows much about what the other will do until they hear it on Sunday.
For some leaders, not knowing every detail of the service in advance sounds like a nightmare – and a recipe for disaster. But it works in a surprising number of churches – maybe most churches.
What Works For Your Church?
In my experience, the most important principle is to keep a cooperative spirit between church leaders.
As long as we’re all trying to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, the format is secondary.
Yes, leadership matters. In preaching, worship, music and more. But in a healthy church, our leadership always comes in second place to the leadership of the Holy Spirit working through everyone.
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