I sat down with Zach Hicks for a Q&A about his new book The Worship Pastor and how we can all become better worship pastors in our own congregation.
I’ve wrestled with the idea and practice of “spontaneous worship.” As a worship leader, I’ve had a lot of questions about whether or not it’s good and how I should lead it responsibly. To get more clarity, I sat down with my friend Zac Hicks–the author of "The Worship Pastor”–to gain some more clarity.
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In this session of the Churchfront Podcast, I interview Tandy Adams, one of the admins of the Worship Leaders + Facebook Group.
Worship leading can sometimes feel like an isolating role at the local church, especially if you are unable to connect with other worship leaders in your local area. Facebook Groups are the best way to connect with other worship leaders online.
In this interview, Tandy shares the benefits of being a member of Worship Leaders +, one of the largest worship leader communities on the web with over 10,o00 members. She gives great advice on how to make the most of being a member and how to add value to others online.
Join the Worship Leaders + Facebook Group today!
Are you a member of the group? Say "hey" in the comments below and let me know where your listening/watching from!
Utilizing pads in worship is an inexpensive and easy way to achieve a full sound whether you’re a solo worship leader or leading with a band. In this article, you’ll learn about the ten benefits of using pads in worship.
Pads have risen in popularity over the past few years for worship ministries. For years I’ve run backing tracks using Ableton Live but little did I realize the benefits of using pads in my worship sets. It wasn’t until I started using pads regularly over the past few months that I experienced the many benefits of implementing them in worship.
Do you use pads in your worship services? Let me know in the comments below. Whether you do or not, make sure you read this article to the end because I have a gift to help you get up and running with pads today.
Here are the seven benefits of implementing pads in your worship ministry.
1. Achieve a full sound
Pads are probably the least expensive and simplest way to fill out the sound of your worship band. We all want our worship bands to have a full sound. But as I worship leader, I know how tough it is to achieve a full sound with your traditional instruments like an acoustic guitar, drums, piano, and bass guitar. Pads fill in the cracks and make your band sound so much more full.
2. Achieve a modern sound
Have you noticed the sound of worship music is becoming increasingly reliant on computer-generated synthesizers? Ambient pad sounds are a distinctive feature of what makes modern worship modern. Pads are a great way to modernize the sound of older worship songs and hymns without turning your worship service into an EDM concert.
3. Smooth transitions
Pads make it easy to eliminate those awkward moments of silence between worship songs. When your band hits the last note of the song, the pads can continue to sustain. Transitions are incredibly smooth using this technique when adjacent songs are in the same key. Even if songs are not in the same key, you can quickly crossfade pads in Ableton or other software you use to run them.
4. Freedom to speak or pray
I’m a strong believer that worship leading should consist of more than just leading songs. It’s important to share pastoral thoughts and prayers between songs, during songs, or a the end of a setlist. I love how pads give me the freedom to not worry about playing my guitar during these moments while at the same time maintaining soft music in the background. While I could noodle on my guitar, it’s much easier for me to focus on what I want to say or pray when pads support me in the background. The last thing I want to do is mess up a chord progression during prayer or have no music at all and create an awkward silence.
5. Compliment the end of sermons
Pads can add a powerful element to the closing exhortations and prayer of a sermon. There’s something about ambient pad sounds that help congregants focus in on what the pastor is preaching or praying. When the sermon is finished, pads create a seamless transition to the closing song.
6. Flexibility for use with a solo worship leader or full band
Pad can benefit any worship leader whether you are leading solo or with a full band. Your band can never be too large or too small to benefit from pads.
7. Minimal gear and software required
To use pads, you only need gear and software to playback simple MP3 or WAV files. You don’t need a click track or metronome. You don’t need in-ears monitoring. You can even play pads on your smartphone. Pads provide full sound to your band without requiring you to buy expensive software or equipment to run them.
8. Easy to prepare and operate
You can prepare and operate pads in a variety of ways. You can use an app on your phone, or you can use them in advanced software like Ableton Live. Either way, you are only working with a single audio file that plays back like any other song you would play on your computer or smartphone. If you know how to create a playlist of favorite songs in iTunes, you know how to prepare pads for worship.
9. No expensive keyboard rig required
A lot of worship ministries waste hundreds or thousands of dollars purchasing expensive keyboard rigs and software plugins to create pad sounds for worship. With pre-recorded pads, you can utilize the power of high-end synthesizer software like Omnisphere without purchasing it yourself.
10. Any key or chord progression will work
Worship songs come in a variety of keys and chord progressions. A single bundle of pads can work for all of them. One bundle includes 12 keys of music. Since the pads were created to drone over any chord in a given key, it does not matter what chord progression you play. Pads will always sound great.
Now you know the ten benefits of using pads in worship. If you want to get started with using pads today, you should download our free bundle of Churchfront Pads. The bundle contains our Warm pad sound designed by my music producer friend, Boomer Bate. You can select between MP3 or WAV audio files. Each track is 10 minutes in length to ensure they are long enough to play with any song without the need to loop.
Click the button, complete the form, and I’ll send you instant access to the free pads. I look forward to hearing how they enhance the sound of your worship leading.
Thanks for reading! Share this article with your worship leader friends who need to know about the benefits of implementing pads in their ministry.
Have you ever considered the difference between a worship leader and a worship pastor? These two titles are often thrown around in the church without much explanation as to what they mean. I’ve been in worship ministry for ten years. I’m not too sure I know the difference.
I use both terms to describe to people what I do. I’ve noticed church job boards listing both titles. Some churches want a worship leader. Other churches want a worship pastor. I have a lot of friends who work in worship ministry. Some have the official title of worship leader. Some have the title of worship pastor. What’s the difference?
Let’s consider the word, “pastor.” Some churches reserve the title pastor for those who are ordained. Other churches reserve the title for those who are dudes. Some churches reserve the title for those on the executive leadership teams. Finally, some churches reserve the title for those who preach sermons, marry people, bury people, and counsel people.
In most cases, qualifications for leading worship do not overlap with the common criteria for being labeled a pastor. Therefore, out of prudence and respect for the title “pastor,” a lot of churches use the term worship leader to refer to the guy or gal leading songs on Sunday morning. It’s understandable.
Formal titles in an organization are a convenient way to organize the pecking order and know where responsibility falls, especially the important responsibility of pastoring. With this line of reasoning, there are some cases when someone would be called a worship pastor. They are ordained, they are a senior leader, and they have other “pastoral” roles along with leading worship.
Now let’s consider the word, “leader.” John Maxwell define’s leadership as the ability to influence others. The title is used in a whole lot of contexts. There are business leaders, ring leaders, cheerleaders, political leaders, and group leaders. You get the point.
Leaders are people who influence others and guide them toward an end goal. It makes sense the word, “leader” is used to define the men and women who lead worship. They influence their band to play as a cohesive ensemble to produce great music. They influence their congregation to worship God. “Leader” is an appropriate title for this role.
But there is a problem with this title dichotomy of worship leader vs. worship pastor. Too often, worship leaders think they are off the hook for pastoral responsibilities in the church.
They merely need to pick songs, rehearse songs, and lead songs on Sunday morning. The ability to coordinate a high-end production experience is also a plus. Leave the soul-shaping pastoral duties to the guy who lectures for 30 minutes.
We wonder why worship leaders in the church look more like rock stars and less like men and women responsible for shaping the faith of our church congregations. Senior leadership wants worshippers leaders to create a compelling, engaging, and emotional musical experience, and that’s it. Warm up the congregation for the sermon when the real work of God is done.
All worship leaders are worship pastors. I don’t care what your title is. Maybe you're a worship director or worship coordinator. If you have the responsibility of putting songs in peoples mouth which have significant formative power over on their spiritual lives, you are pastoring them. You are showing them how to relate to God. You are teaching them biblical and theological doctrine. Worship leading is pastoral work.
You may feel unqualified for pastoral work. Maybe in your church, you do not have the title pastor because you’re not high enough on the pay scale, your not a male, or your not ordained. Don’t think a title or lack of a title gets you off the hook for your responsibility to pastor your congregation in worship. But you may wonder what that looks like? Here are three ways worship leaders can step up their game as pastors.
1. Thoughtfully and carefully plan your worship services
First, thoughtfully plan your worship services. Select songs that guide your congregation through the journey of the gospel every week. Remind them of how great God is. Remind them of how sinful and broken we are. Remind them of God’s grace. Remind them we are redeemed people, and we are invited into God’s mission to restore His kingdom.
2. Know your congregation
Second, get to know your congregation. Before and after service, spend as much time as you can mingling with the congregation members. Meet new people. Ask them what they do for a living. Check in on people you already know. It’s incredible how much people appreciate a mere 30-second interaction with their leaders, including their worship leader.
3. Speak between songs
Third, share meaningful thoughts and prayers between songs in your worship set. Songs do not speak for themselves. In our modern church, worship leaders are the primary means by which our congregation learns the language of our faith. What you say and what your pray matters.
But I know a lot of worship leaders are terrified of speaking during worship. They don’t know how to come up with something meaningful to share. They feel like they are constantly repeating the same shallow phrases. I know I’ve experienced this struggle.
For centuries, church worship has been more than just singing songs. Christians before us wrote liturgies so church leaders can effectively lead their church in prayers and readings between songs. I’m not advocating that all churches need to use the book of common prayer and adopt a liturgical style of worship. But I think worship leaders must be more intentional about developing their skill of speaking and praying between songs.
Rather than just identifying and complaining about this problem, which is something you always see in the Christian blogosphere, I want to do something about it. I want to help worship leaders become comfortable and confident with sharing meaningful thoughts and prayers in worship. Not for the sake of making them look good or feel better about themselves, but for the sake of the spiritual health of our congregations and to help worship leaders live up to their pastoral potential.
I've created a guide to help you prepare meaningful things to say or pray in worship.
Free Guide: 25 things to say or pray in worship
I’m sure a lot of church leaders have opinions on this topic. Have you ever felt like the title worship leader is a cop out for pastoral responsibility? What is your title at your church and why? Do you struggle with engaging your congregation pastorally as a worship leader? I want to hear from you. Leave your thoughts, love, and opinions in the comments below!