How to Improve Your Relationship With Your Lead Pastor

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On a scale of 1 to 10, how is your relationship with your lead pastor?

Or if you're a lead pastor, is the connection with your worship leader strong?

We all know this is the most important relationship on a worship team, but it's rare for this partnership to be healthy. At best, they tolerate each other. At worst, it's an all-out war of misunderstanding.

But it doesn't have to be. It's time to be intentional about it.

I'm talking about more than just being a "yes" man. I'd even venture to say your lead pastor is looking for more than just someone to fulfill orders. He wants a partnership. He wants your input. But he also wants you to understand the vision, buy into it, and work it out within your volunteers.

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I started to sense this strain when we undertook our first live recording, Undying Love. I didn't manage the relationship well. I let balls drop. Other tasks didn't get done. There was tension.

I wish I would have known what I'm about to share with you then. Because people rarely set out to hurt each other. It's more about misunderstanding and lack of communication.

5 Tips for Improving a Ministry Relationship

So let's dive into how we can improve this relationship.

1.Take the First Step – Your lead pastor may be 45 years older than you. He's probably been in ministry way before you wet your first diaper. I know it's intimidating. But if you sense tension in the relationship, take the first step in making it better. Too often younger worship leaders let intimidation get the best of them. Step out and initiate the conversation.

2. Ask Great Questions – When was the last time you asked smart, intelligent questions to your pastor to get to know them better? I'm not talking about, "What songs do you want me to sing?" or "What is your sermon about?" Here's a simple list:

  • When did God give you a vision to plant (or pastor) this church?
  • What are you most excited about for this year?
  • How can I best pray for you?
  • What do you need from me right now?
  • How can I be a better worship leader?
  • What is your vision for worship?

Wow, let me tell you. This can go a long way. Don't miss this.

3. Run With His Vision – I know, you are an entrepreneurial, leadership wonder. Nothing can stand in the way of what you want to accomplish. But if you're interested in a healthy ministry and creating a healthy team, you need El Señor on your side. So before he'll buy into your vision, you need to 100 percent invested in his.

This is healthy on a number of levels. Important lessons are learned in the fire of carrying someone else's vision. Essentially, this is what the kingdom of God is. We're not here to simply do what we want. We are agents of releasing the kingdom of God on earth. Be teachable.

4. Challenge Him – Oftentimes tension develops because someone doesn't speak up. As I said before, your pastor isn't just looking for you to execute his ideas. He wants you to present your own. A great leader isn't concerned with being right. They want what is best. So stop checking out during meetings and come prepared to to respectfully challenge. Bring ideas. Speak up. Invest. Give.

5. Invest in the Church – If you're on staff, you need to have a vision larger than the department you lead. You need to love the church. If all you care about is your music and your band, but give no thought to connecting with people, something is off. Care for the whole worship experience, not just what you're responsible for. Connect with people off the stage.

But let me just be real. Even if you do all these steps, it's possible you're just in a toxic environment with bad leadership. Sometimes your leader is stuck in harmful patterns or is simply unavailable.

But I rarely advocate leaving unless you've done your best to submit and do things right.

I'd love to hear from you. How have you handled these tensions? Did you leave or submit? Do you have regrets?

You can be honest here. I won't tell anyone.

David Santistevan is a worship pastor at Allison Park Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

This article originally appeared at

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