It might seem like the dream worship-leading job: working for a hands-off pastor who never tells you he didn’t like a song, or he wants you to make changes, or he wants you to do a better job at something, or he has some suggestions for you. Doesn’t this sound great?
Not so much.
When your pastor doesn’t expect enough out of you, the danger is that you fall into a rut of inertia that you’re very unlikely to push yourself out of. And the underlying problem when your pastor doesn’t expect enough is that his low expectations are most likely rooted in a disinterest in worship and an ignorance of its centrality to the life of a vibrant congregation.
So while a totally hands-off pastor might make your worship leading life easier in the short term, it’s actually unhealthy for you and your church in the long term.
So what do you do if your pastor doesn’t expect enough (or anything at all) out of you?
Make a counter-intuitive decision, for your personal growth’s sake, to submit your song selection, your leadership style, your musical performance, and your ministry goals and objectives, to someone who can help you aim higher. Maybe you know of someone else in ministry at a different church who would be willing to evaluate you once a year or once every six months, or be given permission to spy on your Planning Center service outlines, who could speak to you honestly and help you. Or maybe you need to ask around to find this kind of person. The point is that you need to realize you have a pastoral-input-void that you need to get filled.
You also need to start the conversation with your pastor and tell him that you’d like him to be more involved. First have coffee or lunch with him. Tell him you want to start meeting with once a week to go over your plans for worship. If that’s too much, then once a month. If that’s unrealistic, then tell him you’ll email him every week with your plans, and ask him for his input. This will make a slow difference.
And if you’re serving at a church where the pastor is hands-on and quite comfortable letting you know what he wants, what he likes, what he doesn’t like, and how he’d like you to grow, then be grateful to God. Even if it’s uncomfortable, it’s good for you and it’s making you a better worship leader.