Why Music Minister Is A Leadership Position
IntroductionIn modern Christian churches, there's a position called the Music Minister. This position is also sometimes referred to as Worship Leader or Chief Musician.. This position is largely misunderstood due to the lack of direct and clear guidelines in scripture. My goal is to suggest that this is a leadership position, and point out some reasons why.
EntymologyThe word "minister" in the title Music Minister hints that this position is a servant-leader position similar to bishop or deacon as used in 1 Timothy 3. Those churches who call the position "Worship Leader" make the definition even more clear. Per the online dictionary, definitions of a leader that apply to the subject are as follows:
1. One that leads or guides.
2. One who is in charge or in command of others.
a. One who heads a political party or organization.
b. One who has influence or power, especially of a political nature.
a. A conductor, especially of orchestra, band, or choral group.
One can qucikly see why a music minister is a leader from these definitions.
If It Quacks Like A DuckThe day to day operations of a music minister are very much similar to that of a pastor or deacon in an average church. Here are some similar things that both pastors and music ministers do:
- Pastors counsel people in their line of work. Music ministers also counsel people, albeit fewer on average.
- Pastors have their name printed on the church bulletin and announcements. So do music ministers.
- Pastors have their own office. So do music ministers.
- Pastors and music ministers together split approximately half the service time doing their job.
- Pastors and music ministers both lead prayer and quote scripture in service.
- Pastors are in charge of deacons. Music ministers are in charge of musicians.
- It is often a requirement of pastors that they be college educated. This is also true of music ministers.
- Pastors have budgets and direct funds at their disposal. So do music ministers.
- Many churches require music ministers to have a pastoral degree and function as the assistant pastor.
It is clear to me, when I review the way both offices function that a music minister behaves a lot like another leadership position in the church. Because of how the office looks and behaves, it must be a leadership position. If quacks like a duck, so it must be a duck.
ScriptureThe office of music minister isn't largely outlined in the Scripture, but there are things that point to how it ought to function. Also, I will list scriptures that address this leadership position and how it should behave. All quotes from English Standard Version (ESV). Mainly, notice how God treats leadership roles with genders.
Exodus 15:20-21 And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
It is acceptable for women to lead women.
1 Chronicles 6:29-32 The sons of Merari: Mahli, Libni his son, Shimei his son, Uzzah his son, Shimea his son, Haggiah his son, and Asaiah his son. These are the men whom David put in charge of the service of song in the house of the Lord after the ark rested there. They ministered with song before the tabernacle of the tent of meeting until Solomon built the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, and they performed their service according to their order.
This is the first we see a specific occurrence of people being put in charge of songs in God's house, and it is all men.
Judges 4:4-10 Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment. She sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali and said to him, “Has not the Lord, the God of Israel, commanded you, ‘Go, gather your men at Mount Tabor, taking 10,000 from the people of Naphtali and the people of Zebulun. And I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin's army, to meet you by the river Kishon with his chariots and his troops, and I will give him into your hand’?” Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” And she said, “I will surely go with you. Nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.
This is a highly misunderstood and often misquoted passage of the Bible that deals with gender roles. Note that Deborah is trying to get Barak to assume the leadership role that God has for him, and he's refusing to do so. You might be tempted to think that this isn't a leadership request, but notice how even in modern day, the one who "wins the victory" is often thought of as the leader in the hearts and minds of the people. David's victory over Goliath made King Saul very jealous of him, and though jealousy is not fitting for leaders, it's worth noting. Also, see this passage below where Joab, leader of David's army, tells David to get to the battle before the city is taken so that it appears that David is the leader.
2 Samuel 12:26 Now Joab fought against Rabbah of the Ammonites and took the royal city. And Joab sent messengers to David and said, “I have fought against Rabbah; moreover, I have taken the city of waters. Now then gather the rest of the people together and encamp against the city and take it, lest I take the city and it be called by my name.” So David gathered all the people together and went to Rabbah and fought against it and took it. And he took the crown of their king from his head. The weight of it was a talent of gold, and in it was a precious stone, and it was placed on David's head.
These passages that follow have been called sexist and discriminatory, but I would like to point out that God wants leaders (bishops and deacons) who are married, and I believe this is because a man by himself is not a complete leader: a married couple team is often best, and this is a requirement for these two leadership roles (bishops and deacons).
1 Timothy 2:12-15 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.
1 Timothy 3:1-5 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church?
1 Timothy 3:12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well.
I believe that the best person to lead worship or be in leadership is not a single man or single woman, but a married man who incorporates his wife to the maximum extent possible.