Throughout the month of April I am taking a break from writing in order to focus on other things. As a result I am re-posting some of my most popular articles.
Trying to understand how to grow your church’s worship ministry can be challenging and overwhelming. Anyone, however, can discover how to take their worship ministry to the next level by applying six simple steps.
I distinctly remember the feeling of wondering how in the world I was going to unearth the next steps for my ministry. I had been at this church for five years and now they were applying a new accountability structure requiring me to really understand where we needed to go in worship.
Not knowing what steps to take, I was completely overwhelmed by the untold possibilities. What kinds of new music should we introduce? What kinds of physical improvements did we need to make to the auditorium? Should we keep the pews or go with theater seating? Should we replace the aging projectors with HD or standard definition projectors? What role should the choir have in the next five years?
Nothing had prepared me for these kinds of decisions. Nothing in my upbringing as a pastor’s kid, in my two professional music degrees, or in my year at Bible college had hinted at resources for making these questions.
Of course, the congregation and leadership had plenty of ideas, which only made me feel more overwhelmed. One person was certain they had just found the sound technology our church needed. Another well meaning person had very strong suggestions about the kinds of music we should use and how loud it should be. Others said, “Make up your mind and don’t worry about the nay-sayers.” Elders urged caution.
Over time I began to get a sense of how to move forward without being overwhelmed. Below are six steps anyone can take to get a grasp on where God might be leading them.
- Pray. So often this is the last thing on our list, even as ministry leaders. Solomon, near the beginning of his reign, asked God for the wisdom and understanding to rule the people of Israel, and God granted his request. Jesus also reminds us, “Ask, and it will be given to you.”
- Study God’s Word. Learn what God has to say about worship and it’s place in the church and in our lives. God is your ultimate leader. Know what is close to his heart.
- Study your senior pastor. Regardless of whether your church is elder-led, pastor-led, or congregation-led, your senior pastor is going to set the tone and agenda for the church. He is the one God has set in place to lead your church. Get to know what is on his heart.
- Study your church vision. Everything you do in the future will need to be in service to your church-wide mission. Dig into it, even if you think you already understand it fully. Take it apart with your senior pastor so that you can understand how to apply it accurately to your ministry.
- Study the health of your ministry. The growth your ministry needs may be more internal than external. Some seasons are for growing in size and others are for strengthening what we have. Endeavor to know your ministry better than ever before, whether you have been leading it for two months, two years, or 20 years.
- Study your personal health. We often forget that we can only lead within our capacity and experience. Sometimes the best growth steps for our ministry involves growing ourselves in order to improve our leadership.
Through prayer and study God will begin to reveal to you the areas of your ministry that need shoring up and the areas that are doing well. Over the next week we will dig deeper into how you can plan the next steps for the ministry you lead.
Which of these six steps needs attention in your ministry, and how are you going to address that step this week?