issue26 whoshouldchoosetheworship bsutton

Issue #26: Who Should Choose the Worship Music?

Faithful & Fruitful Pastoring

I don’t want to re-live or restart the worship wars. I hope those days are far behind us. But I suspect a remnant of the rebels remain.

For years, I put little to no thought into the significance of song selection at my church. When I arrived as pastor, a lady in our congregation was choosing the music, and I was fine with it—one less thing for me to do each week. Then, we installed a new song leader, and she began choosing the songs, and I had no problem with it.

But somewhere along the line, I became convicted by very simple biblical logic. Here it is.

  1. Pastors oversee and will be held accountable for teaching the church.
  2. Music teaches the church.
  3. Pastors should oversee what kind of music the church sings.

This may not be revolutionary for you, but it was for me. I realized that it was my responsibility to ensure we were singing theologically rich and biblically faithful songs. Now, don’t get me wrong. Up until that point, we weren’t singing heresy. All our hymns came from a good, biblical hymnal. But you know as well as I do that not all hymns are created equal. The songs we were singing weren’t unbiblical, but they weren’t theologically rich either. Songs like, In the Garden, Bringing in the Sheaves, Faith of our Fathers, Showers of Blessings. You get my drift? I felt obligated to step in and begin choosing the music, and I am glad I did. It changed the church.

But please hear me well. Don’t do what I did and make a big stink by ripping the song selections from Nancy at your church. If she’s been doing it for a long time, she will be hurt and offended if you suddenly take that responsibility away from her—even if you are biblically justified to do so. But also, don’t view this as no big deal. It is a big deal. You will be held responsible for what gets taught in those songs (James 3:1). So, what should you do?

  1. Pray. Don’t make any changes until you first bring it to God.
  2. Talk to fellow leaders. Don’t make this decision alone. Get the wisdom and advice of others.
  3. Show biblical justification. Make sure you tell whoever it is that is choosing the songs why this change needs to be made.
  4. Delegate. You don’t have to be the one who chooses the songs each week. You can choose them, but it’s not necessary. What’s important is that it’s under your final approval.
  5. Enjoy. Once this change is made, your church will be all the better for it.

Brother pastor, as always, I am praying for you. Keep pressing forward in the work of the ministry. Your great reward is drawing near.

Be sure to check out my new podcast—Faithful and Fruitful Pastoring. It’s on Spotify and Apple. It’s for pastors and ministry leaders and designed to equip and encourage you for you ministry.