I will be involved in a workshop in a few weeks and one of the topics they would like me to address is what to look for when hiring a worship pastor.  Soooooo, I thought I would throw that topic out here and see what your thoughts are.  What are the main qualifications?  What has been your experience?  Any deal breakers?  Thanks!

 

al

www.everydaypraise.com

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Well, obviously he or she must be a long-term member of WTR...or why bother?

(just kidding :))
Nice!!
On the serious side, I'd look at past history/performance. If possible, someone from the search committee should go and anonymously check out the candidate in their natural setting leading a worship service.
That's a great idea. I hadn't thought of it (believe it or not : ))
Anonymous is good. First time we saw headhunters, it was pretty obvious. Back row, suit and tie, dress for her on a Sunday evening. Actually, since I was being downsized and the weeks were running short, it was pretty welcome; but hard to feel in my natural setting. Please - none of this "CD of you leading worship", unless you are beyond driving distance, or are looking for the kind of leader who will "put you on the map.". Actually, some of us worship leaders work behind the scenes, and rarely lead the congregation, if at all. Our skills are in guiding, teaching, training, cooling egos, writing, arranging, fixing cords at midnight and so on.
Check references.

Psychopaths can be very charming in a one-on-one setting, but they usually leave behind a trail of victims in all the churches they have targetted. So if you ever find yourself so charmed out by a candidate and you want to skip all the usual steps and procedures to get this guy/gal on staff, that's a BIG warning sign right there! :)
Sheesh, you're scaring me, Junjie! But better safe than sorry...

I agree with the principal you're alluding to, that you should really check those references (and others that you can find NOT supplied by the applicant), and not just breeze over them on the application form. It's called due diligence.
Anointing: See them lead.

Disciples: Paul said that his disciples were his "letters of recommendation." The people who have been pastored and discipled by a person say the most about that person.

Knows the Word

Musicianship
Look for brokeness. A broken man or woman will have a connection with the heart of God that will shift your entire church into a deeper understanding. If they have gone through the experience of having had to lay down their gift and walk away...so much the better. Someone who has been willing to make that sacrifice can be trusted to follow God no matter where God leads him. Finally, yes there must be skill, talent and experience as well as the ability to lead but if you have to forgo something let it be the talent and skill and go for the first two. I garauntee those will be the qualities that will attrack the presence of God.

Deal breakers? Yeah the one that looks good, smells good, sounds good, acts good, walks good - be careful, all that can be faked by one who is skilled at walking and talking the Christian life. The annointing can and often is conterfeited and a really good conterfeit can fool many many people including church leaders - right up until the real thing shows up. When true worship shows up it immediately identifies that which is false.

By the way - the other comment about the disciples is right on the money. You'll be closer to getting it right looking at the trail of bodies - are they glorifying God or bleeding by the wayside?
Excellent thoughts. Thanks Mark!
This is a rough one. A musician spends years appropriating the style that pleases both the pastor and the congregation (usually two different things when he is first hired); then someone starts a new trend and he or she has to let it go. But while I can stay happy by playing my Bach for the squirrels outside my window or passers-by at Saturday market, the yearning for certain sorts of music that are no longer allowed, the squashed longing to try to communicate God's love through music that says more to me than others -- those feelings must be plowed under and the current styles embraced (not tolerated, but embraced). I suppose worship readers can readily identify with Romans 12. Yes, Mark. I'd go a step further and say that worship pastors are not paid a dime to make music (at least in a church where the others are volunteers). They are hired to lead people, and further to lead in a way that embodies the way the Pastor is leading. At the same time, Pastors -- this does not mean you should get a "yes man". When you started out, your wife led the choir, and she sure wasn't a "yes man." No, she wasn't. Don't give me that. Look for someone who can work on a long leash, someone who makes music for the joy of it. You want joy in your church? Find someone who has it. :)) The Lord bless you tonight.
Pick a fight with them to see how they will resolve it. Lol... :-p

This may not be a deal breaker for some people.
Do they have some of the same theology as you on YOUR big issues? (A Baptist pastor may not like me as a leader because I speak in tongues)However, I fill in at a SBC Baptist church every now and again and it is not an issue. (Got-Shandi? :-)
I am not just talking about tongues, but whatever you think are the salient issues you think are important. (I saw a sign once that said “We are a Hyper-Lapsarian, Pre-Destination, Pre-millennialists, church.”) Ummmmmmm OK. No comments please. It is what I saw.
I am making the point what is important to you.

1. It doesn’t matter how good they are if they are not loyal to and buy into your vision I would say pass on them.

2. It is always easier to lay hands on then to lay hands off. Don’t be in a rush.

3. You can only go so far with gifting. Character and integrity are what you are looking for.

4. How much are you as the pastor willing to invest in them. Not in word but in actual resources and continual training.

5. Look for a leader. (Easier said than done) Everybody says they are a leader but do they lead and what does it look like when they do lead.
Do they leave bodies in there wake when getting tasks done or when they are under pressure?
Do they inspire people?
Can they have hard conversations?
How do they resolve conflict? (Pick a fight with them) Do this carefully.
How long did they serve the last church?
What kind of reputation do they have? Outside of music.
What does there last pastor say about them?\

Most important are they there to serve or be served?

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