Senior Pastor: The Primary Worship Leader


We generally look to the staff person called, Minister of Music, Worship Pastor, Worship Leader, or other designation (referred to as “worship pastor” for the remainder of this post”) as being the primary worship leader for our times of corporate worship. This is partly due to the misconception that the music portion of the service is the “worship” and other parts, such as the preaching, is something else. You often here sentences like:

  • “After 30 minutes of worship, the pastor will bring the message.”
  • “We will have 10 minutes of worship followed by prayer, then 15 more minutes of worship before the sermon.”

First of all, we need to understand that all the elements of the time we gather together for corporate worship are vital parts of worship – prayers, sermon, Scripture readings, ministry times, creative ministries, congregational singing, choral/solo presentational music, instrumental music, the Lord’s Supper, baptism, and more. When we equate music with worship, we are very short-sighted of the full range of worship expressions that we employ in our times of corporate worship.

Pastor’s Involvement in Worship Planning

The pastor should give guidance to the planning of the overall service. This may mean providing sermon information and other ideas to the worship pastor (and optionally, the worship planning team) weeks ahead of time and then walking with them through the planning process. Often the senior pastor feels comfortable allowing the worship pastor to do much of the fleshing out of the service, but the senior pastor should stay plugged in and provide guidance as needed. There are various levels of involvement that the senior pastor may have on a continuum of no involvement to complete control of the process. Determine which one best describes your reality:

There is more to consider:


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