The Worship Shepherd

20131205-180349.jpgI like to think of Isaiah 40:11 as kind of a job description for worship pastors.

“He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.” (Isaiah 40:11 NLT)

Worship pastor qualifications? How can that be? There isn’t any reference to music, or singing, or even choirs! Jan, what in heaven’s name are you trying to say?

Just this. The ability to sing, play an instrument, or conduct a choir, is such a small part of what a worship pastor does; and even less of who the person is.

Many people can sing the house down and draw huge crowds everywhere they go. Great musicians are practically a dime a dozen. Choir conductors are graduating from college each year, just waiting for their opportunity to perform.

If a person has enough desire and discipline, they can be taught to sing, play, and conduct.

But a worship pastor is someone who has the heart of Jesus, along with the necessary musical skills.

Referring to the verse in Isaiah, I see a worship pastor as someone who nurtures. They walk with their flock to each and every pasture of worship. They don’t drive or beat the flock, pushing them from field to field; they walk with the flock as a shepherd does. They don’t demand a “worshipful” response from either their team, or the congregation. They lead by example, for their heart is fixed on worshipping God. Sheep, God’s flock, will follow a worshipful heart into the very Presence of God.

A worship pastor is careful to use songs which exalt the One Who sits upon the Throne; the One Who’s the same yesterday, today, and forever. Songs that simply showcase musical talent do not nourish, or feed, the true spirit of worship.

The pastor of worship will care for those new in their faith, as well as for those who may be struggling in theirs. They’ll support them, defend them, and pray for them. They will be careful not to thrust the young believer into the position of leadership too quickly. Lambs need time to develop strength to stand, quickness to flee dangerous situations, and a stubbornness to come against the schemes of the tempter and stay unshaken. The worship pastor will help them grow in their gifts and callings.

“Gently lead the mother sheep”, is an interesting phrase. I picture a mama sheep with a couple of babies hobbling and wobbling beside her. The worship pastor has a love for people, more than a love for music, therefore they are patient with those they work with and for.

You see, some music leaders are very self-centered. They want a certain kind of performance, a certain sound, regardless of whether it helps the people of God actually worship. They are so interested in their “sound”, they leave everyone else behind; staring at the platform and the words on the screen. People may sing the words, but they really don’t have a clue as to what they’re singing about. They’re just singing. Not worshipping.

God inhabits the “praises” of His people; not their singing!

The worship pastor/shepherd realizes worship is not about them, but rather about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Period.

The worship shepherd is a lover of Jesus, and a lover of those Jesus loves. They are a worshipper.

If you believe the Lord is calling and equipping you to be a worship shepherd, remember Isaiah’s prophetic word.

“He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.”

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