Those who know me may be a little confused by the title of this post. You see, I am heading into my final year of college when, at the end of this year, I will be graduating with a degree in Worship. Most people have an understanding that, with this degree, I will work at a church in such a position as a “worship pastor” or “worship leader”. However, I don’t think that I want to be a Worship Pastor. Don’t get me wrong, I am planning on working in a church, and the job description of what I will be doing will look very similar to that of many “worship pastors.” I may even apply for jobs with the title “worship pastor.” You see, I want to be a “worship pastor” in terms of what the job entails, but I don’t think that Worship Pastor is the right title for such a position. Here’s why:
It’s a redundant title.
The idea of worship is one that implies that it is something that takes place when the people of God live in a manner that is in accordance with the will of God. It is something that takes place in all aspects of life. Because of this, every pastor is a pastor of worship. The idea of worship leader is married to the term ‘pastor.’ The Preaching Pastor is really the Pastor of Worship through preaching; the Kids Pastor is a Kids Pastor of Worship; even those ‘ungodly’, flip-flop wearing, goatee loving Youth Pastors, are pastors of worship. So why do we call the worship pastor the “Worship Pastor?” It’s like saying ,”The Worship Pastor of Worship.” That’s weird right?
It reinforces a wrong idea of worship
Worship is a lot more than music. Because of this, many churches have begun to make an active effort to not limit the term to mean a time of singing. Even at my church, my pastor has asked those of us on staff to be intentional about the use of the word worship. We want the people in our services to not have a limited view on worship, but instead to see it as something that infiltrates their whole lives. Why then do we call the time of singing worship? If we are trying to break the over-proportioned and extremely limiting association with the terms worship and music, then we need to stop labeling only music as worship. Even further, should we label the person whose primary job is the leading of music as the worship leader? Does this not further reinforce the idea that worship is music?
Let’s call it what it is.
Let’s be honest, the title “worship pastor” is probably not the best title given to such a position. In an era where most “worship pastor” positions resemble that of a production manager or creative director, why do we use a title that has a very broad meaning? Most of us, serving on staff at churches as worship leaders, probably feel more like Sunday Morning Directors, Music Directors, or Service Producers. If this is the case, then why do we not call our positions what they are? There is nothing wrong with being the Pastor of Sunday Services, or the Pastor of Music. I Know that “Worship Pastor” has a really comfortable feel to it, as it invokes a more spiritual feeling than “Music Pastor” but I just can’t help but feel that “Worship Pastor” is not always the most fitting title.
Look, I see nothing wrong with the position of a worship pastor. If I did, I wouldn’t have given up four years of my life pursuing such a career. I think the position is one that is vital to church, especially in a day and age where we must engage a culture that has been trained to only appreciate that which is excellently produced. The position is not in question, the title is. Is a “worship pastor” a pastor of worship? Certainly. But, just because the position fits within a title with a broad definition, does not mean that such a title is the best title to use. I think that we should consider putting some more thought into the titles we give things and positions, especially when those titles include the term “worship.”