Podcast Episode #180: Why Are Worship Leaders Prideful?

Austin Ryan of Worship Catalyst joins the podcast to talk about mentoring worship leaders, pride (!!) in church worship culture, and developing growth paths for teams. Jason and Kristina share ways they mentor their teams and how excited Jason is about Worship Innovators! 

On what is Worship Catalyst

Ministry was designed and built to connect people to Jesus better in worship. We disciple and train worship leaders. We realized that churches have worship leaders but nothing in place to train and mentor them. 

On helping churches in a city

We call those hubs and there are 4 different components. One component is that we have a connector, a leader that connects with all the leaders in the city. Only 15% of churches in America have a worship leader on staff, so most churches have worship leaders who don't have access to resources and training. Our connectors try to find and connect with those worship leaders.

The second component is putting on workshops. We have a few luncheons with worship leaders and we just ask what is going well and what is not. So from there, we determine what workshops would be helpful.

The third is walking with churches one on one. Accessing the needs, building a plan on how to move forward, and providing them with resources to help them move forward. We have several tools in place that we'll deploy depending on the needs. 

And the fourth is we provide a network of resources. Where if someone needs a drummer, we have a list for them to pull from. 

On the value of an equipped worship leader in a church plant

If a Pastor's expectation of the worship ministry at a church is just 4 songs on Sunday, that is not a full-time job. To make worship pastoring a full-time job, that'll often look like team builder, pastor of your team, or developer of other worship leaders so you're not the only one–a lot goes into that. 

The role of a worship leader is to go to God and grab people with them. It's pretty simple on paper until you dig into it. Knowing the congregation, building relationships in the community, knowing the crowd in the room, and the potential crowd in the room.

On non-negotiables for worship pastor

The most important is to instill the values. Values are guardrails that keep you on the road. The values that we have are excellence, creativity, unity, authenticity (vertically and horizontally), humility, evangelism, and party (have fun!). 

On what feeds into pride in music culture

Satan wants to tear us down as worship leaders. He either tells us "you're the best leader in the world, that person is raising his hand because of you" or "you shouldn't even be on stage, you're the worst singer, you look stupid". All these various things the enemy speaks to us is so that we stop worshipping Jesus. 

It's also the mom syndrome. Mom always thinks you are the best and brags about you. As a kid, you believe it, but when you grow up you realize that they were encouraging and not always truthful. Don't internalize every positive comment. They're either being kind or they don't have context for the compliment. 

The "American Idol" syndrome. Back when that show would bring on bad singers purposefully to make fun of them–those people genuinely thought they could sing. I think some people don't have the ability to know whether they're good or not. Maybe they have people encouraging them that are Christians, but it's just not the truth. 

On encouraging new musicians to grow

Having an audition structure will help protect the worship leader from looking like that bad guy. Having expectations upfront will help with feedback after the audition. The growth plan for musicians that need to improve should be specific and actually helpful for the musician. 

On developing a growth plan

Give them artists to go listen to. Having current team members train new musicians for several weeks. Providing them with video tutorials. 

We're not just saying "go find a teacher and spend money", but actually trying to provide them with tools.

The hardest part is with singers that want be singers but just aren't good. As leaders, we are supposed to be able to guide them forward to whatever God has planned for them. Help them understand the call on their life. 

On mentoring worship leaders

We start the mentorship by spending several hours with the worship pastor and church pastors so they can align on values and goals. It's 40% teaching and 60% guiding so they leave and are on the same page about the future. 

Listen to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Learn more about Worship Catalyst.

Kristina Kislyanka leads worship and student ministry at her church in Washington state. She’s passionate about songwriting, producing music, and growing community within the Church. Kristina is a member of the Maverick City Music Choir. 

Podcast Episode #180: Why Are Worship Leaders Prideful?

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