By Devon Howard
Establishing a Worship & Music Ministry in Your Local Church (Part II)
In Part I of this article, I summarized three fundamental questions addressed in my presentation for the 2015 Andrews Worship & Music Conference. Part 2 focuses on practical steps to take in establishing a Worship & Music Ministry, as well as suggestions for funding the position and some tools for success.
Practical Steps to Take In Establishing a Worship & Arts Positions:
1. Seek Pastoral Leadership Support and Buy-in.
The Worship & Arts Director position should report to pastoral leadership and must work in partnership with them to be effective. A shared vision for the position and agreed upon goals are crucial to the ministry’s success.
2. Create a position title, job description, and implementation timeline with pastoral
The importance of specific goals, outlined philosophies and agreed upon markers of success can not be understated. Because a successful ministry will need time and leadership support to develop and mature, a two-year commitment with six-month assessments is ideal and should be agreed upon from the beginning.
3. Present the Position and Action Plan to Church Governance
Once a ministry implementation plan is developed it should be presented to the primary church governance group for feedback and support. Typically, this group is comprised of elders, the church board, or a combination of the two. Bringing a concise and thorough proposal to church governance will increase the likelihood of their approval while avoiding lengthy discussion and possible obstructions.
4. Introduce the Ministry to the Congregation
Most congregations will need to be educated about what a Worship & Arts Ministry is, as well as their role in it. Ways to familiarize them with the new ministry include:
- Ministry Fair
- Worship & Arts Sermon Series
- Newsletter Article
- Ministry Video
How to Fund the Position
The details of payment should be discussed with the church treasurer as well as the conference financial officer. Although a regular W2 employment status is ideal, it might be necessary to receive payment through a stipend requiring a 1099. Research fair compensation. Consider remuneration for similar positions in your region. Some organizations that provide church worship ministry pay scale suggestions are:
1. American Guild of Organists
2. Association of Lutheran Church Musicians
3. Presbyterian Association of Musicians
The position will almost certainly need to be funded through the local church membership above and beyond their established giving. For this funding to be successful, consider these suggestions:
1. Assign a supportive member of the congregation to fundraise. Do not attempt this in addition to leading the ministry.
2. Seek realistic pledge commitments from as many people as possible to broaden the support base.
3. Request specific giving levels and goals. For example, pledge commitments of $100/month from 10 people/families will provide a respectable 1/4 salary of $12,000.
Some Tools for Success:
1. Implement a Worship Design Team
A Worship Design Team creates congregational support and representation. It also provides an outlet for volunteer engagement and delegation, which helps avoid
micromanagement. The team should:
- Engage 6-8 members including pastoral representation
- Reflect a balanced representation of congregational demographics and interests
- Discuss all aspects of the worship experience from entry into the building to exit
2. Utilize Planning Software
Shared planning software helps worship leaders communicate and coordinate details and personnel efficiently and effectively. When utilized correctly, it also helps avoid confusion and duplication of effort. Two common services are:
- Google Docs (free but can be unwieldy for large groups)
- Planning Center Online (requires monthly fee but is designed for the single purpose of worship planning by groups of people)
3. Schedule Weekly Meetings with Lead Pastor
Partnership with pastoral leadership is essential for a successful ministry, and the Lead Pastor’s feedback and direction should be sought out regularly.
4. Implement events or programs outside of worship that are in-line with your passions and
These events and programs could include organizing a concert or art gallery installation. Such activities will keep your creativity engaged. They will also help the worshiping community connect with you as a leader, and with one another.
A vibrant Worship & the Arts Ministry will have a significant impact on the vitality of a worshiping community. In addition to creating relevant corporate worship, it will increase collaboration and participation within the congregation. As the ministry continues to grow, those benefits will begin extending to the wider community through education and outreach events, which are the natural spin offs of successful ministries.