In an extraordinary number of churches, the worship leader is also the leader of the communications or media team. After all, it can make sense – a good worship leader knows music, knows how to communicate a message, understands the experience of being onstage, and has the trust of the pastor. Especially in a small church it’s a logical choice. But as a church grows, it could lead to problems, and here’s why:
1) A worship leader is a worship leader first. He or she will always look at everything through those eyes, consider the worship department and team a priority, and no matter how mature, naturally slant decisions in that direction.
2) Great worship is important, but is only a part of the overall outreach of the church. A communications or media director needs to understand balance in a church’s message. For instance, while the new worship album is terrific, its promotion needs to be integrated into the overall messaging and branding of the church.
3) Invariably, where worship leaders are media directors, I’ve noticed that camera placement, lighting, staging is all designed around the worship set, and not the pastor’s message. Again, a strong media director needs to understand the balance.
4) In the same way, when worship leaders also lead communications, I’ve noticed the equipment related to music is always amazing, while the equipment related to video, live streaming, and other communication areas is often neglected, or less expensive and effective. It’s often the same way when it comes to the salary and experience levels of each team.
This is in no way meant to disparage great worship leaders, and I have no doubt that in some cases it can work. But the bottom line is balance. A communications strategy involves sharing the message and brand identity of the church without undue influence from any single department of the church. While there are remarkably capable, seasoned, and mature worship leaders in churches today, leading worship and music well is a full time responsibility in itself. So let’s allow them to focus on worship and music and be amazing.
Adding communications and media under that authority is far too often viewed as an “add-on” and not given the weight and responsibility it deserves.
I’d love to hear your thoughts…