Ask the Expert: Is it possible to receive too much direction from your Church Leadership?


Worship and worship leading are often considered to be ‘high profile’ ministries by virtue of their ‘front and centre’ position in church meetings.  Musicians/worship leaders should reasonably expect to be held to high standards, and receive a certain amount of direction & input from the church leadership when it comes to the delivery of their ministry, but is there such a thing as too much?

A post from one of our Facebook Group members struggling with this topic has generated some interesting comments  –  so we thought we’d open it up to you all on the blog.  Here goes…..

Is there a point at which the Pastor and leadership are no longer directing and guiding but doing?

In specifying all or some of the detail around what is required from a worship set – song choices, playing styles, tempos, keys and ‘feel’ – can church leaders become too involved in what they should be trusting their worship team to do?

Consider what level of direction would usually be given to other ministries that operate within the church.  For example:

  • Would a Pastor expect all those who preach/speak in services to deliver a message the same way? Would they specify that every sermon should have the same ‘feel’ to it?
  • Would a Pastor ever imply that someone isn’t praying properly because it doesn’t sound/feel the same as someone else?
  • Would they tell the children’s workers exactly how to deliver a programme– going further than advising on what topics to cover/helping with resource selection, to specifying  the exact words, phrases and even tone of voice they should use in a session?

Here’s an example:

‘Amber’ is an experienced volunteer worship leader in a UK church of roughly 120 people who has been struggling recently with the level of direction she has started to receive from the Pastor & leadership.

She feels that most of it is centred around her playing style (chord improv based keyboards & strong lead vocal) and song choices. She admits that she tends towards a more reflective, mid-to-slow overall ‘feel’ but, out of respect to her leaders has been trying to follow their direction over the past year, choosing more up-beat, fast songs particularly at the start of the service, and trying to keep a lively feel on the mid/fast ones.

Musically she is reasonably well accomplished and tries to adapt her playing style as much as she can, as she is often asked to lead without a ‘full band’ (something she doesn’t personally mind or feel to be a problem). She’s tried hard to arrange & deliver songs/sets that meet the Pastors requirements but doesn’t find it easy as rehearsal time with her rota’d band is extremely limited – often non-existent

She understands the desire of the Pastor to create a consistent worship experience for the church.  But she is feeling restricted by the detail of the ‘direction’ she is being given and unable to lead the way she believe God wants her to . The way in which she is being compared to the other worship leaders in the church is making her wonder whether what the Pastor really wants is actually – to put it simply – the other worship leaders. 

Please post your thoughts in the comments section  –  we’d love to hear your advice for ‘Amber’ and your idea/experiences around all of the points raised.