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Well, I’ll leave you to look up the Blazing Saddles reference yourself if it’s unfamiliar but, while you’re here, I do have some questions for you to consider:

Where do music ministers, often called worship leaders, come from? How do they become caretakers of your church’s music? What training should they have? What skills are needed? Is theological/ministerial training important? Does a music minister need a badge (degree)?

Before I refer you to a lead on answering these questions, I should mention that I hold that the true worship leader of a church is its pastor/shepherd/elder who is ultimately responsible for all elements of a service and for leading the church body in worship. Aspects of a service, such as the music, might be delegated, both to allow the Holy Spirit to utilize all the gifts He has distributed and to allow the pastor more focus on teaching and shepherding the flock. But, unfortunately, a service’s music leadership is all too often assigned on musical ability alone rather than pastoral calling and training. David de Bruyn says this “is like delegating the planning of the Lord’s Supper to the kitchen staff.” (And may God bless those who emulate servant leadership in our kitchens!) In most churches, as much or more time is spent on music as on preaching, scripture reading, and praying combined. This is formative time for feeding the flock, thus those planning the musical ‘menu’ need to understand how to feed the flock biblical nourishment.

But, I digress. Back to that lead I mentioned. Please read this article from Ed Steele, Professor of Music, Leavell College (New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary), titled “Why Skill-Based Music Study is Needed in the Seminary Setting.” He tackles these questions and raises an urgent call for churches to engage and discuss these vital topics.

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