Recently, we had a special service at our church. My pastor asked me to prepare for a “ministry and worship” time. Right from the beginning the Holy Spirit’s presence was evident. During the worship time, without really thinking about it, I knelt next to the pulpit and continued to sing. Then the pastor came over to me and said, “We are losing them. Get up and start leading.” I did as he asked, but I must say my worship was somewhat quenched. When I got up, I looked around. Eyes were closed, hands were lifted although many were not singing.
My question is this: was I in error in my actions? And if so, where do you draw the line between being the worship leader and being a worshiper?
It is vital to establish and maintain good communication with your pastor. It may be worthwhile to have a consistent time of sharing about what happened in each service afterward. I would suggest that you ask your pastor what he meant when he said, “We are losing them. Get up and start leading.” It is possible that you misunderstood. Or it is possible that his idea of a “ministry and worship” time is different than your idea. Either way, clearly communicating in order to understand one another is key.
A good worship leader sometimes has had exposure to various styles and depths of praise and worship. These may not match up with the pastor’s experience, his understanding, or even his heart for a particular meeting. This is why asking for a clarification, especially in this instance, is important.
Here is an example of a better alternative in this specific situation: After the pastor’s directive, it could have been helpful to instruct the other musicians and singers to continue in the time of worship, leading another ministry-oriented song. This would have given you the chance to briefly share with the pastor what you were sensing and your uneasiness in changing the current flow and direction. If you and the pastor have an understanding together about these times it is much easier, even on the spot, to check in with each other.
Another possible option for this situation is to simply continue the time of worship with a song that would flow with or further deepen the congregation’s heart-response. In reality, even after you stood up you could have led into a song that would have carried on the same atmosphere.
An additional possibility is that your pastor could have made a mistake or been overwhelmed by the whole event. Remember, pastors—just like you and me—aren’t perfect, at least not yet. Like all of us, they are growing in the Lord.
To respond directly to your question, it is difficult to say, without hearing all view points, whether you were in error or not. It is correct that you as the worship leader are a worshiper as well as a leader. However, your pastor is still the one in charge in the congregation and in the service, and you must be willing to follow his leadership. Sometimes that can be a challenge, but as the two of you communicate more and more with one another, it will make your job easier.
A good relationship with your pastor in which you communicate frequently will help alleviate lots of problems in the future.