We’ve all noticed it. The worship team is leading the congregation in praise and worship, and the person most distant from worship is the Pastor. Either he is using the time to talk with someone, or praying over his message, or putting the final touches on it. This practice by leaders reeks of disrespect and aloofness. It also hinders the freedom and liberty of the Holy Spirit the worship team is hoping to lead the flock into. How is the failure of Pastors to be worshippers a hinderance? Here are several ways.
- It is disheartening to the worship team that has been praying all week and practicing to lead the congregation in worship. It makes them feel their effort is not important.
- It is a poor example to the flock, especially other men, about the importance of worship. Men will look strongly to the actions of their Pastor. If worship isn’t a priority to him, why should it be to other men?
- It leads to the false assumption that worship is beneath those spiritually mature. Pastors are held up as examples of maturity. What type of example are we showing.
- It projects that worship time is only a ‘filler’ until the real event–preaching. It dumbs down the real benefits of worship. A person who worships in spirit and truth are the best ones prepared to receive the teaching of God’s Word.
All of these reasons will cause damage to the flock. It is never intended, but the damage is real nonetheless when Pastors appear distant from worship and praise. What should Pastors do to prevent this damage?
- If someone wants to talk, tell them this is the time to worship the Lord and you will talk with them later.
- Be prompt to be the first one ready to sing and praise the Lord. (set the example) Delegate jobs to others in order to be the first worshipper!
- Make worship the priority during the worship time. Let no one, unless a dire emergency, deter you from worship time!
- Engage the Lord during worship. Nothing will prepare your heart to share God’s Word as coming from the presence of worship. Let the message you are going to share lead you into the King’s presence in worship. The Holy Spirit will flame the message during this time if we lift our hands and hearts to Him.
- Spend the needed and sufficient time in prayer over the message before the praise and worship time.
- Repent to your worship team for not being engaged as an example of worship. Then, lead the flock by example. Nothing is more powerful of an example than a man who knows the Word AND who worships in freedom and liberty. Teaching and worshiping connects the mind and heart. It reveals that the gospel satisfies both the existential (heart) and rational (mind) needs of man.
The benefits the church will reap by having Pastors who are worshippers are tremendous. It leads the men into worship, shows the importance of worship, encourages the worship team, and sets a high example of the freedom and liberty that spiritual leaders should have.
There are two great tragedies within the gathering of most churches. Pastors who do not engage in worship, and worship leaders who do not engage in sound teaching and preaching. Both must stop if we are to bring a healthy balance and example to the rest of the flock. True worship will compel us into a deeper understanding of God’s Word, and a deeper understanding of God’s Word will compel us into true worship!
Let us be men after God’s own heart, and like David, let us be examples of the joy of worship which accompanies true spiritual leadership. Yes, we have many things on our plates, but nothing should distract us from “entering His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise.” (Psa. 100:4)