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Our worship director is going to be stepping down in the not-too-distant future, and I thought I'd see how other churches divvy up responsibilities when it comes to planning services. Do you have a single person identified as a director in some way? Does that person do the bulk of the planning/selecting songs? Does everything happen by a committee? Do you have some mix of the two?



We currently have a Worship Coordinator.  (Job Description available if you email me.)   Her job is to "coordinate" the myriad of tasks and teams related to worship.  E.g. She organizes the music team, but does not regularly play or sing.  She finds readings/prayers/litanies AND finds a variety of people in the congregation to do them.  She gathers the trumpters, violins, flutes when various songs demand those sounds.  She schedules the regular musicians, e.g. band, piano, organ.  She makes the weekly powerpoint.  She lays out the worship order.  She leaps tall buildings in a single bounce!  You get the idea.

The Worship Coordinator is an integral part of our small staff (6 total).  She meets regularly with the Pastors to understand the needs of the congregation and the upcoming plans for preaching.  She meets and emails several times each week with the preacher of the week to coordinate the details of the service.  Song choices are essentially up to her, but are often made in collaboration with preacher and musicians. 

We used to have 3-4 teams of worship planners who met with the preaching pastor every 6 weeks to get a sense of upcoming services.  Then they divied up the services among the teams.  Each team was responsible for selecting songs and other worship parts.  This had the benefit of using more people in leadership, but the problem of no consistency and no one to look after the ongoing administration of worship, e.g. CCLI licensing, piano tuning, worship bulletin, etc.

Seven years ago, the church made an overhaul of the entire leadership system and, as part of those changes, they decided to hire a part-time Worship Coordinator.   My opinion is that we have the best of both worlds:  a single point person for many of the tasks of worship planning, but a person who invites communal participation and honors the ideas of others in the planning process. 

I've been part of five different churches worship systems and this is by far the best experience.  Trouble is, it's only partly due to the system.  It is mostly due to the integrity, intelligence, abilities and spiritual maturity of the person God provided to be our Worship Coordinator.  (P.S.  She is NOT available for hire!)  

Joy, our worship director just left and I'm intrigued by what you describe.

So far, our worship leaders have led the praise band and led our worship during the services, as well as coordinated the planning, etc., that you describe above. I can see where it can be difficult to find that creative musician-praise-team-leader who is also good at planning and organizing. But we want both -- of course. :)

I'm wondering: What about the person who actually leads the worship during the service? Is that your pastor in your church, or is there someone in the praise team who introduces the songs and makes the transitions during singing, readings, etc.?  Is that praise team leader a paid position?

Joy Engelsman on September 12, 2011

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Our church has two pastors who both lead pieces and parts of worship.  My co-pastor is the primary preacher and so I do many of the other pieces, although after 5 years we've learned how to toss the baton back and forth pretty smoothly.  Our Worship Coordinator is also good at transitions, but she isn't always up front.

When the band plays, we have a few options.  I am the musical leader and in charge at rehearsal.  However, we also have some of our vocalists who do the intros and verbal leadership--we rehearse some of these so that they can learn before having to just do it in worship.  

While I do value using the gifts of many people, I've also learned that worship leadership is not just a learned skill that anyone can pick up if they try hard enough.  The various pieces of music, planning and presenting are also precious gifts from God.  I believe that the church should celebrate and invest in developing those gifts, being careful not to overload the worship person with so many expectations that there is no possible chance of success. 

Our Worship Coordinator is paid for 20 hours per week.

There are sample job descriptions on the CRCNA site.  Connect here and go down about 2/3 to the section "Employment Issues: Job Descriptions."  There are two specifically for Worship staff positions.  

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