The Pastor Is Always Right!

by | Aug 26, 2020

I read a tweet from a very respected pastor and evangelist last night that said this:

“I heard a minister of music say today, ‘There are two rules to work with a pastor. Rule #1: The Pastor is always right. Rule #2: When the Pastor is wrong, refer to rule #1’. Smart Minister of Music!”

I’ve served in two churches in 6 years of ministry so far. Before that, when I traveled the country more extensively singing, I was in a different church each night, several nights a week. I’ve spent most of my adult life being around Pastors, church staff, and church leaders. I can 100% attest that the above statement is true. Does it ACTUALLY mean that the pastor is always right? Of course not. That’s one of the reasons you as the worship leader are in the position that you are- to bring something to the table for the worship service. Your thoughts, your opinion, your abilities to serve- those are all valuable things. In the ministry where I currently serve, our pastor has given me a lot of freedom to make decisions, and to own my responsibilities. It’s made me a better leader, and a better worship leader.

Now, inevitably, there will be times in ministry where you disagree with the pastor. We’re human. We have differences of opinion, and that’s okay. As a matter of fact, it’s quite healthy to surround yourself with people who may think a little differently than you. In the grand scheme of things, though, your role in relation to your Pastor is one of support. You’re there to help guide the hearts of a congregation to be receptive to the Word of God as it’s preached. If there is a disagreement on a matter, it’s much wiser to err on the Pastor’s preference and honor his wishes on a musical matter than to “buck the system” in a selfish, public manner. If you feel the need to speak to the pastor about the disagreement, find some time outside of church to speak and open that dialogue. You’ll never regret serving your Pastor and your church selflessly. Part of serving God’s church through music, I believe, is ministering to the Pastor, as well as the church. If you know there’s a song that he loves, throw that song in there, and watch his face light up as he prepares to preach God’s Word. You may never know what that song does for him.

How does that work practically speaking in my experience? I’ll give two examples. A few months ago, our pastor and I were glancing over music for the upcoming weeks and asked if we could remove a song from our rotation of songs and replace it with another. My response was “Sure thing, after we sing it tomorrow, I’ll pull it from the list”. His response? “see if you can pull it before then.” I was presented with a choice in the matter. I could show myself and ask for an explanation as to why we would remove a perfectly good song, and make it a problem between the two of us, or I could simply go ahead, remove the song, and life would go on. There are some hills that are not worth dying on.

Another example is that often during our invitations at church, I’ll slip up to the piano and play something. Nearly every week, I end up singing a verse or two of a song during invitation. Every so often our Pastor will ask me to do a specific song for the invitation. He usually tries to warn me ahead of time, but there have been other moments where he asked me to play a specific song while I was actually at the piano. How do we manage doing that during an invitation? Well- one way is by keeping a record of those songs. I have a folder on my iPad that I use at church with (at the moment) 76 songs that I’ve done over the past three years at our church that I know that our Pastor loves. I keep those in a folder called “Jake’s Jams” (it’s an inside joke). Now- how do I know how to play all those songs? Some of them I’ve played for years, but some of them I needed a little help on.

That’s where Worship By Numbers comes in. When I run into a song that’s unfamiliar to me, Worship By Numbers is a simple method that allows me to focus on the words while simply following along the chart I’ve created using the same number system that session players, and live stage musicians have used for decades now.

Working alongside your Pastor can be one of the greatest joys in your ministry. Don’t hurt your relationship just trying to build your own kingdom at your place of service.

Want to learn more about how this system can help you pick up songs quicker than ever? Visit for more info.

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