I received this question a while back:
I’m a Music Minister and I find that I’m wanting to implement reforms that I believe are biblical but my pastor doesn’t agree. How do I deal with his unwillingness to make biblical changes?
I know some of you may not have the privilege that I have of serving where the purest form of the Gospel is preached. Maybe you’re in a church that preaches something far less than the true Gospel. Maybe you have many of your congregants who have never been born again. You can’t make those folks worshipers of God. Therein lies much of the problem with the typical church and the “Music Wars” that occur. When you’ve got a congregation that is by and large unregenerate (not born again), their focus is totally on things that the Bible says are unimportant. With that being said, it is still the job of a Music Minister to be an extension of the heart of the Senior Pastor. In so doing, he should do the church music the way the pastor would want it done if he (the Senior Pastor) actually was the Music Minister
I must also say that for the Music Minister to be more concerned with being truth-driven and biblical than the Senior Pastor is actually quite rare. But since it seems we actually have that situation here, what should be the approach? Maybe these suggestions can help:
Communicate. Talk to your Pastor about theological concerns. Chances are he lives for this kind of stuff! I’ve never met a pastor yet that doesn’t love to discuss truth and its implications and applications to the local church. Ask questions. Read a great book together. If you don’t talk about it, it will only fester and create a wedge in your relationship.
Calculate. Make sure that you don’t go off in a direction that would be too fast or too radical for the church to assimilate. ANY change should be loving, gradual, tender, and careful. We are not about playing games with God’s property. The only quick, radical changes that should be made are those that the leadership wholeheartedly requests or endorses. It may be that your pastor’s reluctance on making changes is because you’re trying to move too quickly. Patience may be the only thing needed.
Coordinate. If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there. Make sure to have a long-range plan for what you believe the services should look like one year, two years, five years, etc., down the road from now. Of course, make sure you do not surprise your Pastor with any of it on a Sunday service. He’s still God’s sovereignly chosen leader for your church. When David honored Saul’s authority, it didn’t happen because of convenience. Saul was literally trying to kill him!
Consecrate. Make sure that your testimony is as pure as possible. There’s nothing more disheartening than to see a minister exhorting the church to hold to truth and then live a loose, undisciplined life. The temptation to harden your heart or becoming embittered towards your pastor must be overcome as well. There is no better way to justify the Gospel that we preach and sing than to back it up with a life saturated with holiness granted only by the matchless grace of Christ!
Consider (ate). It may be the Lord’s way of telling you that He’s getting ready to move you if the leadership of the church is more concerned with numbers and cultural relevancy than with biblical worship. I’ve always believed in trying to stick out a situation as long as possible and therefore allow the Lord to teach me things that I would not learn in leaving. However, there are core truths and principles that no true Minister of God (Music, Youth, Senior Pastor, or any other ministerial position) should compromise on whatsoever. Just make sure to be humble and broken and servant-minded no matter how conflicting the situation gets. Always take the high road.
14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; 16 that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears. Heb 12:14-17 NASU