The Hidden Reason Churches Nail Worship

Church Steeple

Sam Rainer

February 4, 2018


It’s you. You’re the reason—hidden in plain sight. I’m writing to you, lead pastor. The hidden reason churches nail worship is because the lead pastor leads out in worship.

Most churches will only worship to the level of the lead pastor. If you’re the stoic stander, then your church will be full of Sunday morning totems. If you raise your hands, then people in the church will follow your lead. When lead pastors immerse themselves in worship, churches do the same.

Stop blaming your worship pastor for the lack of energy. Stop complaining about the musicianship. Stop thinking, If only we could change the music style. Just worship. Dig into it. Sing loudly to the glory of God.

Stand in the front of the worship space and let it out. Lift your arms in surrender. Spontaneously kneel at the altar in passionate prayer. Step into the pulpit short of breath from singing.

You lead with evangelism. You lead with vision. You lead with theology. You lead with shepherding. You lead with prayer. You also lead with worship. Lead pastor, if you’re not worshiping well, if your soul is not poured out weekly, why would you expect the same of your church?

Evangelistic churches have evangelistic lead pastors.

Prayerful churches have prayerful lead pastors.

Passionate churches have passionate lead pastors.

Theologically sound churches have theologically sound lead pastors.

Joyful churches have joyful lead pastors.

Why would worship be any different?

The hidden reason churches nail worship is you.

You’re the visible prompt. People are watching how you worship. They are observing what you do. They are learning from you during the music as much as during the sermon.

Are you in it? Your job isn’t to wait through the other elements of the service for your time to preach. The lead pastor is also the lead worshiper. You must teach by example. Put your notes down and lift your voice. The best preparation for your soul is to join the congregational singing of the saints.

If you’re only preparing sermons and not preparing for worship, then you’re fulfilling just half your responsibility on Sunday mornings—if that.

The hidden reason churches nail worship is right there in plain sight.

It’s you.


7 comments on “The Hidden Reason Churches Nail Worship”

  1. Billy and Pat Batdorff says:

    We are so thankful for you and the gift of wisdom and leadership the Lord has given you. You always prepare your sermons and prepare for worship. It is difficult to express the blessings of being part of WBBC. We love WBBC and our pastor. God bless you Pastor Sam.

    1. Sam Rainer says:

      I’m thankful for your encouragement!

  2. John says:

    I’m really appreciative of this post. I’m a little less than a year in to my first lead role, and there have been many times when I felt that I should physically respond, and more often than not, I’ve shoved that prompting aside.

    Thanks for the encouragement and permission.

  3. Nick Scarpa says:

    Great post Sam. I am retired from pastoring, but I am loving worship! Maybe partially because I am on the worship team as a guitarist.


  4. Isaac Gray says:

    Thanks, man! As the pastor, I am aware of this dynamic on a regular basis but your words struck me and nailed down the importance of leading in this area. I pastor a smaller church and sometimes I end up running the sound or going to get something that is needed for another part of the service but I won’t be doing that anymore.

  5. Bob Myers says:

    And you nailed it, too, Sam. As one who had a long career as “worship pastor” and now lead pastor, I know first hand that the worship life of the church will never rise above that of the lead pastor. The congregation takes their cues from him. Unfortunately, too many preachers think their only job is the sermon. And our evangelical (revivalistic) culture has also promoted that idea, since the role of church music has purportedly been to “prepare the hearts of the people to hear the Word.” It has its own intrinsic value as we “teach and admonish each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs…” (Col. 3:16).

    Thanks for articulating this often overlooked truth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *