WLM: What has been your past experience working together as pastor and worship leader?
JF: We’ve been serving together for twenty years. We began working in youth ministry, then started an alternative service for young adults, then planted a new church. In that process we’ve taken on a lot of different roles.
DK: Friendship has always been a primary factor, but it’s based around a common mission that we’re serving in together. The two are intertwined and that’s what keeps us going.
JF: The passion to see people come to know Jesus was initially what drew us together. Dan had respect for me not just as a musician but also in a pastoral role, as a shepherd, someone who could lead people into an encounter with God. When he asked me to work with him it wasn’t just about playing some songs on Sunday but having a real impact on real lives. Aside from trust and respect it also helps that Dan is a great musician in his own right. He has a heart and an appreciation for artists.
WLM: Do you see yourselves as equal partners?
DK: Very much so. Sometimes a worship leader is seen as merely an instrument used by the senior pastor to enhance the service. But the reality is that the worship leader is just as important to getting across the message as any amount of gifted teaching.
JF: I have a definite partnership with Dan, but in that I’m absolutely submitted to his authority. He’s the one who has been given the vision for the church and the one who God has put in charge.
WLM: How important is coordinated planning for the success of a service?
DK: The pastor has an obligation to prepare as far in advance as possible. I’ve spoken to some worship leaders who don’t have that advantage and operate in an environment where things are always changing and it’s hard to bring all the elements together. Of course, we should always be open to mid-course corrections from God but that’s no excuse not to do the hard work of planning.
JF: We work closely together to create an encounter for people around a specific topic. Everything has got to work together to bring about that experience. Dan will plan out a year of teaching in advance which enables me to look at each month and ask how I can best support the communication of that content. We meet weekly for at least an hour and a half to talk about the specifics of the upcoming message, looking for songs that can really communicate that theme effectively.
WLM: What are some of the most significant factors in maintaining a good relationship between pastor and worship leader?
JF: A servant’s heart is key. Any time a worship leader or a pastor develops a bit of a rock star attitude, getting too attached to being in the spotlight, you lose that humility.
DK: You have to always make sure you’re both sharing the same vision. Is the communication between you clear and consistent? Are you doing what it takes to foster the friendship? Is there the safety and space to express problems and the commitment to work through those problems? A good working relationship depends on a healthy personal relationship.