Josh Philpot

Theology, the Church, and Music

Archive for April 23rd, 2015

A Call for Musical Pastors via Bob Kauflin

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Lately I’ve been trying to say and teach our congregation that worship leading is a pastoral task. We call the people of God to sing God’s words for God’s glory, to say and speak the truth about God and his redemptive plan to one another. Or to say it differently, we put words in their mouths. As a friend of mine once said, leading worship means leading worshipers, which is inherently pastoral. One of the main influences of my ministry as a pastor for worship is Bob Kauflin, who leads Sovereign Grace Worship. Today he has an excellent blog post along these same lines:

A Call for Musical Pastors:

An increasing number of musicians have full time worship ministry in their sights. They hope that one day they’ll be able to make a living playing their instrument, leading people in songs of praise.

That’s a great goal. But I’m not sure it’s the best one.

If you believe God’s called and gifted you to serve the church with your music vocationally, I want to suggest that you consider whether God’s calling you to be a pastor as well. A musical pastor. Of course, not every musician who leads congregational singing should or will be a pastor. But if you hope to join a church staff some day, I want to suggest six reasons why preparing to be a pastor musician is better than simply aiming to be a worship leader.

Read the rest to get those six reasons. Kauflin’s point here pushes up against the more common definition of a worship leader in evangelical pop culture: a musician who sings and leads a band in front of a church. But I think Kauflin’s words are wise in this regard. Church leaders shouldn’t pass over them lightly:

Can someone lead music in the church and not be a muscial pastor? Sure. . . . But pastors will always be responsible to choose and lead what the church sings. It’s pastors, not worship leaders, that God will ultimately hold accountable for those they shepherd (Heb. 13:17). Which means it’s possible that if you want to be a pastor or already are, any musical training you get is only going to serve you and your church.

So what might happen if more churches were led in song by musicians who were pastors, or pastors who were musicians?

I’m not exactly sure, but I’m confident our hearts, our songs, and our churches would all be the better for it.

May the Lord raise up pastors who are gifted to lead musically in our churches.

(Via Bob Kauflin)


Written by Josh Philpot

April 23, 2015 at 1:25 pm

Posted in Worship