Modern worship leaders are restless. They have inherited a model of leadership that equates leading worship with being a rock star. But leading worship is more than a performance, it’s about shaping souls and making disciples. Every worship leader is really a pastor.
The Worship Pastor is a practical and biblical introduction to this essential pastoral role. Filled with engaging, illustrative stories it is organized to address questions of theory and practice, striving to balance conversational accessibility with informed instruction.
- Part One presents a series of evocative “vignettes”–intriguing and descriptive titles and metaphors of who a Worship Pastor is and what he or she does. It shows the Worship Pastor as Church-Lover, Disciple Maker, Corporate Mystic, and Doxological Philosopher.
- Part Two covers specific roles related to ministry within the worship service itself–the Worship Pastor as Theological Dietician, Caregiver, Mortician, Emotional Shepherd, War General, Prophetic Guardian, Missional Historian, and Liturgical Architect.
- Part Three looks at ministry beyond the worship service–the Worship Pastor as Visionary Teacher, Evangelist, Artist Chaplain, and Team Leader.
While some worship leaders are eager to embrace their pastoral role, many are lost and confused or lack the resources of time or money to figure out what this role looks like. Pastor Zac Hicks gives us a clear guide to leading worship, one that takes the pastoral call seriously.
The modern role of the worship leader … has emerged in recent years as a mission-critical position on church staffs” so writes Zac Hicks. But how do we characterize that role … rock star, attendance stoker, culture broker, generational appeaser? With years of contemporary worship-leading experience, theological acumen, love of the church, and profound respect for the calling of leading God’s people in declaring his glory, Hicks identifies the role as “pastor.” That description is not a power-grab, but a humble acknowledgement of the sacredness of a task with so many heart implications for the people of God. Hicks explores perspectives that will inspire worship leaders and ennoble the worship practices and priorities of God’s people. – Bryan Chapell, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church; Author, Christ-centered Worship and Christ-centered Preaching
I’ve said it publically, so now I’ll document it. If I could choose one worship pastor to serve with for the rest of my life it would be Zac Hicks. Marinate in his book, Worship Pastor, and you’ll understand why my words aren’t pastoral hyperbole. I’ve never met a worship leader, of any age, who simultaneously exudes such a heart-enflaming grasp of the gospel and great theological care, a deep affection for Christ’s church and a passion for corporate worship, creativity in building liturgy and joy in leading a service, an infectious love for his team and humility as a lead worshiper. No, this isn’t Zac’s eulogy; it’s an introduction to a great book. Get it; soak in it; share it with many. – Scotty Smith, Teacher in Residence, West End Community Church, Nashville TN
FINALLY! Long has the worship community needed a guidebook for those understanding the role of the worship leader encompasses more than great music. This volume clearly defines the responsibilities worship pastors have to the body of Christ as: theologian, disciple, worshiper, evangelist, mentor, artist, counselor, musician, servant leader, and producer. Zac Hicks skillfully “pours himself” into every page of this book. He explains how these multiple roles, when merged together, define “the call” to pastor, nurture, disciple and love those entrusted to the care of the worship leader. Well written. Passionate. Insightful. Engaging. I highly recommend The Worship Pastor to anyone seeking to follow God’s call to lead worship. – Dr. Vernon M. Whaley, Dean, School of Music, Liberty University
As the ‘worship pastor’ becomes a standard job title in local churches across the globe, we are in dire need of a guide for this unique vocation. Gleaning from the best Biblical, historical, and liturgical models, Zac Hicks has given us a masterpiece that is equal parts manual and manifesto. The fruit of Zac’s faithful life and work as both a scholar and a worship pastor, this book is both theologically rich and readily applicable. It is pastoral theology at its very best. – Glenn Packiam, Pastor, New Life Downtown; Author of Discover the Mystery of Faith and Secondhand Jesus
The position of the worship leader has morphed into a highly influential place in church life over the past two centuries. Unfortunately, the actual role has often been relegated to picking a few songs, and not much more. Zac Hicks has laid down some important principles for worship leaders to function beyond merely choosing songs – as pastors. Worship leaders can have lasting, formative impact on congregational life – pastoring from the platform, as well as in relationships with those they serve. Worship leaders who will adapt Zac’s principles and disciplines will find that their call to ministry will be widely enhanced…to the Glory of God. – Dr. Edwin M. Willmington, Director of the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts, Fuller Seminary
It’s been 50 years since the first forms of contemporary worship. It’s been 30 years since the position of “worship leader” developed. It’s been 20 years since mainline churches adopted contemporary styles. And so it’s time for a mature, multifaceted guide for those who have the stewardship for leading God’s people in this worship. Zac Hicks’ The Worship Pastor fills that need wonderfully. – Lester Ruth, Research Professor of Christian Worship, Duke Divinity School
This is book is an invitation to fundamentally re-envision the very identity of all of us who lead God’s people in worship. We not are called to be performers and spiritual engineers. Rather, we are graced with the profound opportunity to shape a gifted response to the triune God, walking in step with God’s Holy Spirit to give shape to the reception of God’s Word and the response of God’s people. My prayer is that this book will encourage and inspire both beginning and lifelong leaders of God’s people, and lead to worship of greater theological depth and Christian joy. – John D. Witvliet, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary
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