Guest post by Mike Strand. Mike serves as a worship pastor in Colorado. He loves theology, coffee, reading and spending time with his wife and 2 kids. He blogs irregularly at Pastor Mike’s Musings.
One of the most difficult positions in any church is the position of music leader. They have the incredible gift of seeming to offend every person every week by the songs they pick. In fact, some websites have even poked fun at how difficult this role is! And for many of us, we don’t contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way because we have our own preferences and ideas about what a “perfect” worship service looks like. Yet for all the complaints, there are also many people who support and encourage music leaders, here are 5 ways you can encourage your weekly music leader:
This is the first one for a reason! Praying specifically for your music leader throughout the week is the single most important thing you can do, as Paul reminds us, “Pray without ceasing!” And not just praying, but tell them you’re praying for them as they seek to plan the weekly services. Pray that they will be faithful in their task of preparation, for unity among the team members, for their song selection, and for their own personal worship throughout the week. Reach out to them and find other specific ways you can be praying for them, it means more than you could possibly know!
- Pay Attention to the Words
There are more songs written specifically for churches today than at any point before in history. That means picking songs for our weekly services is that much more difficult today than at any point in history because everyone has their ideas about what songs should be included! That means that whoever is picking the songs has an incredibly difficult job every week, so instead of just listening to the type of music the song is, read the words. Meditate on them and think through where those ideas and themes pop up in Scripture. As it says in Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,” and one of the best ways to do that is by paying attention to the words!
- Get Over Yourself
This is the most difficult way to encourage your music leader, because most of our lives teach us to be oriented toward yourself, but when we gather together as God’s people, it’s not about me, it’s about we. In Colossians 3:16, Paul goes on to remind us to “teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, singing Psalm and hymns and spiritual songs.” Our singing actually allows us to teach and encourage each other! That means the most important person when we sing isn’t you, it’s the people sitting around you.
- Be Thankful
Paul continues in Colossians 3:16, “…with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” We have the wonderful privilege of gathering together to remind each other of the gospel that saved us, is sanctifying us, and will one day glorify us, and our singing allows us to remind each other of those truths! So share your thankfulness with God and with your music leader who is attempting to faithfully point you to Christ.
Last, but certainly not least, actually sing out loud! The Psalms are full of instances where we’re commanded to sing LOUDLY! (Psalm 33:3, 66:8, 95:1) We are commanded throughout Scripture to sing to God, and each other. So when you gather on Sunday, sing out! Engage with the music, look around you and encourage the body, raise your hands, clap for joy, bow in admiration at who God is, and continually allow the Word of Christ to dwell in you richly! Ask your music leader sometime how difficult it is to lead God’s people in singing praises when people are staring at him with frowns and crossed arms, and refuse to be one of those people. As Christians, we have every reason to praise our Lord and Savior who has rescued us from death and brought us back to life and now indwells us through the power of the Holy Spirit, so sing out!