Why We Don’t Have A Worship Pastor

April 6, 2015 | Written by Nick Thacker

Worship_cropHi, I’m Nick. I’m the Director of Worship Arts at Pulpit Rock.

In 2013, Pastor Thomas told the congregation that we were moving to a “new model” of worship at Pulpit Rock … one that did not involve a worship pastor. Specifically, he said, “I (Thomas) need to be the worship pastor.” After a long history of “worship pastors” at Pulpit Rock, this decision was a bold step, and a difficult decision to make.

Now, over a year later, Thomas no longer calls himself “worship pastor,” and if there’s any question I can guess I’ll hear on a Sunday morning, it’s this one:

“Why don’t we have a worship pastor at Pulpit Rock?” 

The answer, essentially, is simple: we don’t need one.

Instead, we need what a worship pastor provides. 

When Thomas stepped in, he knew that what Pulpit Rock needed was leadership in worship. We needed a voice, a vision, and a leader to take us there. My role in that transition period was to provide the technical and practical leadership we would need, and Thomas’ was to provide the spiritual and pastoral.

Many churches choose to wrap all of these roles into one massive responsibility-burrito and call it “Pastor of Worship Arts” or “Worship Pastor.” Pulpit Rock, as you know, was one of those churches for a long time.

But as we assessed our skills and needs, we came to a realization:

We don’t need to have one person doing all of these things. 

Worship services require a lot of planning, careful design, and rehearsal. We realized that there were major technical and logistical systems that needed to be built and maintained, as well as led, nurtured, and grown.

But we didn’t need all of these hats to be worn by one person. We just needed all the hats to be worn:

  1. Vision: Who’s casting vision? What is “worship” at Pulpit Rock?
  2. Leadership: Who will lead us in song every week? Who will lead them? How are we working to shepherd our teams and congregation?
  3. Pastoral Care: Are we providing pastoral care to our worship team? To our congregation?
  4. Music Directorship: How do we decide what songs to sing, or how to play them? How are we coaching and training our teams toward excellence?
  5. Service Planning: What’s happening in our services? When? Who is doing what?
  6. Technical Direction: What is the long-term plan for the technical aspects of ministry? What systems do we need to run a Sunday service?

There are more, but the details of what my specific role is will be for a later post. For now, understand that we decided to do away with the title “Worship Pastor” at Pulpit Rock for a few reasons:

  1. The “hats” were already being worn by people like me, Thomas, and others. The functions of what a worship pastor does were already being covered.
  2. The responsibilities of a worship pastor has long been ambiguous. Every Worship Pastor will have a different approach to the above roles, with certain emphases on some more than others.
  3. Searching for a worship pastor, like any role, takes time. We realized we already had people in place here in the church.

I’m sure you still have questions, though I hope this post helps provide you with a little insight into our hearts regarding this major shift. We feel that worship at Pulpit Rock has never been better, and we hope you agree.

If you do have questions, or just want to chat, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly, or leave a comment on this post. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this transition and you’ve felt about worship over the last year.


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3 thoughts on “Why We Don’t Have A Worship Pastor”

    • Sara, you are so right! We are big fans of women in leadership here at Pulpit Rock. This post is several years old, but we are still following the same model for worship leadership now. You can read a bit more about our thoughts on this at http://www.pulpitrock.com/worship. Also in the next few weeks, we will be adding bios for each of our worship leaders to that page.


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