Written by: Kevin DeYoung
Our talented, godly, and beloved director of worship recently announced he is taking a call to serve another PCA congregation. So we are in the unenviable position of trying to find another man who will be as talented and godly and beloved.
Which got me thinking about what a worship director loves. It’s probably a given that he loves music, and that he is, on some level (depending on the congregation), a proficient singer, instrumentalists, conductor, and arranger. But the best worship directors love worship more than they love music. The body of Christ doesn’t need exquisite musicians who happen to find church work as much as they need committed churchmen and godly worshipers gifted in music.
In other words, in addition to having the necessary musical chops, the church’s director of worship (or music minister or worship pastor or whatever) must be marked by a number of other loves.
1. He loves the Bible. He studies the Bible, is thrilled with the Bible, and tests everything against the Bible.
2. He loves the sound of the congregation singing. Although he may bless the congregation with large musical numbers, top notch productions, and original compositions, what he most enjoys is supporting the people of God in voicing their adoration, confession, and thanksgiving.
3. He loves the forms and the liturgy of the historic, Reformed tradition (at least this one is true where I’m coming from). He is gladly committed to Reformed theology, traditional Presbyterian worship, and the best of evangelical hymnody.
4. He loves to hear Jesus praised in a variety of styles and genres. While rooted in a particular tradition, he does not look down on the best stuff from other traditions and get persnickety about selections from outside his own preferred musical style.
5. He loves Lord's Day worship. Of all the productions or performances he may skillfully arrange and conduct, he is most passionate about the weekly worship of the saints Sunday after Sunday.
6. He loves to pastor musicians, choir members, and his support staff. He treats people as people in need of encouragement, support, and discipleship, not as means to a musical end.
7. He loves theological integrity. Beauty does not bypass truth, but is enhanced by careful attention to it. He will be theologically "fussy" even more than he is musically "fussy."
8. He loves to be part of a team. He gladly embraces the demands and opportunities of working in a church with many volunteers, an excellent support staff, and a large staff.
9. He loves good preaching. He knows that he needs the word, and he thrills to hear it proclaimed each week.
10. He loves to come alongside and serve the Senior Pastor. His personal interactions with those in authority are marked by humility, grace, and an easy going affability.
Do such men exist? Yes, I’ve seen them. And they are a gift to the church. May their tribe increase in the decades ahead. And may God bless those committed to training the next generation of musically talented, theological careful, and personally affable worship leaders.
P.S. I realize that there is much more to worship than the music, and that Jesus is ultimately our worship leader. I am using these familiar terms in ways that people can understand them.