More On Arts Ministry Org Charts

The dialogue about ways to best structure leadership for a worship arts ministry has been robust and fascinating to me. I had a conversation with an arts leader yesterday who is not a musician herself, and who is fielding questions from the up front worship leaders about whether it is best for a non-musician to actually be leading the music team (in terms of reporting structure). This is not a new question to me, and yet it still surprises me that a worship leader is very open (usually) to reporting to the pastor, who is often not a musician, but not as open to following a Creative Arts Director or Worship Arts Pastor if that person is not musically gifted. I think the key here is leadership. As we look at the gift mix of each individual, we need to discern what his or her best play is. Also, a non-musician is often better equipped to represent the large percentage of non-musical people in the congregation – and make wise decisions as an advocate for those folks.

Sometimes musically gifted people don’t understand that not everyone is quite as “into music” as they are, and not everyone connects with God as a worshipper through the pathway of music. As a result, some worship leaders design long, repetitive worship times with music that is not very accessible for the average person. Those worship leaders and their music teams often look like they are in heaven on stage, and are authentically worshipping themselves. But they lack the instincts and discernment to read the room. Often, especially past the first few rows, the congregation is not as engaged as the worship leader may think they are.

For years I’ve been an advocate for expanding our toolbox in worship to include many different art forms and dimensions of communication. Some people respond most to story, or visuals, or video, or drama, or dance – therefore, we must not limit our experience in the gathering to music exclusively. For this reason, a non-musical arts leader may in fact be a great choice for leading the process of designing the Sunday morning experience. What do you think?


Nikki said...

Thanks for the Blog, Nancy. I always appreciate your insight. I agree. I think that most of the time a worship leader's greatest strength is simply that...leading worship. They may be gifted in other areas of creativity, but I think that it's good for them to be concerned primarily with leading the worship. We have a creative arts director who oversees all of the aspects of the service. It's good to have someone like that who has a different view of the service as a whole.

I'm not saying that it's a bad thing to have your worship leader plan the entire Sunday service, but I think that it's pretty wise to let them do what they do best...lead worship.

Just my 2 cents :-)

Her said...

Thank you! This post really encouraged me. I don't have ANY musical talent, but have earned a leadership voice in our worship planning by representin' the thousands out there who don't either.

Deb Fisk said...

Wow. I don't usually follow this blog but this caught my attention. I am a non-musician Worship Arts Director and I still get comments from some of the musicians about "do you think we will ever hire a real worship director?" Those same people will tell you it's not about the music... I am sure there are people who can do both, but it has worked really well for us to have a balance - especially since we do a "blended" service. Glad I stumbled across this! God Bless!

Clark said...

Thank you for this encouraging post. I have felt this unspoken pressure at times from my staff. While I am a musician, there have been times I wanted to shout out, "Of course you're better than me! What kind of steward of God's resources would I be if I only hired musicians worse than me?" I thought I made it clear in the hiring process that if the quality of the music was limited to the level of my talent, we would be in bad shape.

Regardless, I have struggled occasionally with my place among the artist, but recently God has reaffirmed this role in my heart and mind. Your blog reminded me of those thoughts and that recent spiritual journey. I'm just glad to be on the team. Grafeful and humbled that God provides each a place at the table. Willing to serve, willing to lead.

The comment about the non-artist being represented 'so to speak' in the planning, is extemely valuable. I wonder if others have ideas on how to make that happen since the planning is done primarily by artist and the speaking Pastor.

Anonymous said...

I have been visiting your services as an outsider for the last 2 months. I am also a contemporary christian artist and professional jingle/commercial singer and I want to comment on the service this past sunday. Oh my God! The young lady that ministered this last Sunday really ministered with the annointing. I really was truly touched by her music and felt the power of the holy spirit. I did not get her name but she also played the piano. I would love to hear her sing again and again and again....Please let her know that the annointing was present!!!