3 Reasons I Got Ordained [even though I'm a worship leader]

I recently was ordained as a minister in my denomination and was interested by how many people seemed totally surprised by the fact that I was being ordained or by others who were confused about what I would be doing after ordination.  Many people expected me to become a lead pastor or preacher.  Some expected me to get a pay raise or to be transferred into a new assignment.  Others simply posed the question, “What is that?”  I thought a valid response to this confusion would be to share 3 Reasons I sought ordination as a worship leader.

1. I was called by God into professional ministry.
Growing up, I was never exposed to the kind of ministry that I would eventually be called into.  In the small independent churches I grew up in, the only “pastor” was the preacher.  There were different volunteers who led music or Sunday school.  The pastors of those churches rarely took classes in Theology or Biblical Studies.  They basically sought what they believed to be their calling and relied totally on the Holy Spirit to speak through them.  I was also exposed to some mainline churches with “ministers” who wore robes and held Divinity degrees and had attended seminary.  The kind of ministry God called me to wasn’t a part of my understanding until that calling was being formed in college.

2. Ordination isn’t just for sermon writers.
Being a worship leader is more than just leading music and overseeing other creative arts in the church.  The two main roles of a pastor (shepherd and prophet) are very much a part of my calling.  First of all, I am a shepherd to those whom I lead.  I have a very intimate role with those in my band and media teams, and a wider-reaching role leading those in our church in authentic worship.  I am also called to act as a prophet.  I’m not talking about future-telling prophecy, but rather truth-speaking prophecy. This is the basis of sermon writing. It is to declare truth about God; to share His character with those who will listen, and to challenge those whom he leads to become more like Christ with each sermon.  As we as worship leaders sing truth about God, we challenge people to broaden their perspective of who He is and to respond to what He is calling them to do with trust and obedience.

3. I wanted others to know the value I place on my calling.
There are hundreds of full-time and part-time servants in the church who serve in a capacity unique to their calling.  I sense a strong calling to understand theology and to be able to teach and direct those I am in contact with.  I want it to be clear that my commitment to my calling is just as deep as those who are called to preach sermons.  As a worship leader, I feel that it is just as important for me to understand the nature of God as it is those who preach.  My music, my leadership, and my life at home should reflect who He is and wants His people to be.

I am excited for where life is leading me.  It has taken me ten years to reach this goal.  I’m now considering what kinds of Master’s Degrees may be valuable to my calling as a worship leader or for whatever God may have in store for me.  My hope is to continue to write articles and music and to follow His leading in every area of life.

What has He called you to?  How might he be expanding that calling to prepare you for your future?  Feel free to comment and share!

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  • Kngzfool

    I too am a worship leader and have been for nearly 25yrs. I’ve also been a part of the same church for that long, from its infancy stages to now, where we’re 2500-3000 members strong.
    When I first knew what I was being called to, I expressed my gut response to my pastor, whom then said (with a chuckle) you may want to consider some other form of income… What would be the need for a full-time worship leader?”
    Of course at that time in my young 20′s, I didn’t necessarily have a pastoring heart, at least as far as I knew… I knew I wanted to devote my time and energy to learning and writing music to draw God’s people into worship. I wanted to create a culture of true worship and help train and lead other worship leaders and musicians. I wanted to help instill in young worship leaders a heart that was passionate after God first and a musician second.
    But because my vision was shot down by someone who obviously knew more than I did, I put that idea to rest… Until now – 25yrs later!
    Now I’m finding that God has not only rekindled that desire, but has given me a much larger shepherd’s heart and prophetic insight to what He’s doing and what the state of our local church is. I have new vision for this ministry and am at a pivotal point in my life that begs the question “how do I pursue something that my pastor has no vision for WITHOUT making it a self-promoting effort of my own?”
    I used to believe in kicking down your own doors (in theory of course, obviously having never done that in this particular area) but now lean much more toward the blessing of submission, even if you think they may be wrong…
    This is my dilemma! I do not want to chase a calling, I want to receive it. Much like the missionaries of the early church who were chosen by the presbytery and were blessed by the laying on of hands and then sent out, I want and believe that it’s necessary for that to happen.
    BUT, if my pastor doesn’t believe in it enough to invest in me, my gut response is to approach those who do seem to believe in me and ask for their blessing.
    Beyond that, it’s still a matter of receiving ordination and especially an INCOME that allows me to devote the kind of time I want to, without deserting my wife and four children.
    Anyone with solid advice, and/or insight (prophetic or otherwise) I would love to hear from you!
    Thanks -

    • marktenney2

      Hi there! Thanks for stopping by and taking time to read and comment.

      I’m not sure that I can offer any “prophetic” advice, but if you are feeling called to serve the church full-time, it sounds like you need to sit down with a few different people who you might consider mentors. This would include your pastor, but also some other church leaders you may feel comfortable talking to.

      If a pastor said “What is the need for a full-time worship leader?” he may have a different idea of what the responsibilities of a worship leader are. Perhaps he is thinking only of the person who is on the stage leading music on Sunday. If someone else is choosing songs, prepping the band, etc., then maybe there isn’t a need for a full-time worship leader.

      I would ask him some questions like “What skills could I develop to serve the church better? Are there areas where I could serve the church and potentially be able to earn a full-time salary while doing it?”

      My most front-facing title at church is “Worship Leader”, but in all reality, I’m designing worship experiences for two campuses, overseeing video venue sermon recording, leading worship for our youth group on Wednesday, maintaining a server that serves as our church “cloud” of media files, overseeing the media team at two campuses, and serving the creative design team by helping to develop concepts, design graphics, write scripts, etc.

      If I were to write a one-line job description, it might say “I am responsible for developing a culture of worship that is biblical, engaging, and culturally relevant for two campuses at Newark Church of the Nazarene.”

      I hope that help you in your conversations and in developing your own vision for ministry. Thanks!