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10 Major Sins of Worship Leader Search Teams

10 Major Sins of Worship Leader Search Teams

Chances are, we’ve all had interviews that we thought went well, only to be left wondering for weeks or longer how things actually went (if we even get any feedback or follow up at all).

Or perhaps worse, we find a ministry position that seems like the perfect yet, only to discover a short time in that things aren’t what we were led to believe during the interview process.

I recently polled our readers about negative experiences they’ve had in dealing with worship leader search teams from churches. The responses could be categorized around 10 major themes.

Sin # 1: Concealing the truth about the church’s health, compensation package or demands of the position.

Granted, there are no perfect churches, but it’s better for all parties if the challenges are acknowledged and addressed during the interview process. Being clear about challenges, compensation and expectations early on, will help avoid potential fallout down the road.

Sin # 2: Inappropriate communication or visits with a potential worship minister’s current church.

Candidates and committees should communicate clearly with one another about how to handle things like references or observing a worship service. This will help avoid unnecessary surprises like driving a church van to observe a candidate at this current church without his knowledge.

Sin # 3: Focusing on musical talent to the exclusion of spiritual maturity, character or accurate theology.

Let’s not forget that a worship leader’s ultimate success is more than just related to their skill and giftedness. Things like maturity, character, theology and vision matter.

Sin # 4: The committee, pastor and church not in agreement before interview process.

Few things can be more frustrating to a candidate when there is little or no alignment or agreement with regard to direction and vision. Be honest about what the church wants, not just what the committee wants.

Sin # 5: The pastor is too involved or not involved enough in the process.

Pastors and search committees should seek to strive the right balance in this area. If the worship leader will work closely with the pastor, it might be a good idea if their vision, values and personalities align.

Sin # 6: The committee is unprepared.

Some simple steps may remedy this situation. Churches and search committees should have a clear job description, know what questions they want to ask during an interview and be able to articulate the direction of the church and vision for worship.

Sin #7: Having unrealistic expectations of a potential worship leader.

A church shouldn’t expect 52 choir anthems per year with a 10-member choir. They also shouldn’t try to find an exact duplicate (or the exact opposite) of the previous worship leader or music minister.

Sin # 8: Lack of follow up after the interview.

It’s a common courtesy to communicate appropriately with all interview candidates, even if it’s to let them know another candidate has been selected for the position. If it’s a prolonged search, committees shouldn’t wait months before giving candidates an update on the process.

Sin # 9: A lack of professionalism during the interview process.

Committees should communicate an anticipated hiring timeline and be willing to discuss things like salary and benefits early on in the interview process.

Sin # 10: A lack of appropriate communication during the interview.

In addition to timely communication with candidates, committees and candidates should be willing to discuss matters of importance as it relates to the position, while being careful to avoid questions that may be deemed personal or inappropriate. Wisdom and discernment are needed here.

My hope is that this list will help current and future search processes to be healthier for both candidates and churches. What would you add to the list?

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About The Author

Kenny Lamm

Worship Consultant for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. A frequent worship clinician and guest worship leader. Extensive work in worship renewal in several Asian countries.

1 Comment

  1. Jenn McDaniel

    Wow Kenny, this was a great and timely post! Thanks for putting it out there. My husband has been applying to worship positions nationwide for almost a year and while we have experienced the majority of these sins, sin #3 and #9 have been rather prevalent! I would like to add sin #11…using a search firm for your hiring process. I’m curious as to your thoughts about the recent trend to use search firms. I do not intend to be disrespectful to the organizations and companies that have started these search firms, but our experience has left us feeling like churches are becoming lazy and passive in their search and limiting the Holy Spirit leading to a candidate match. I think this is a new trend that has not yet explored the potential outcomes and consequences of a “middle man” so to speak. The firms represent the church, but there is not equal representation of the candidates because money is flowing in one direction. It’s just such an odd business practice that doesn’t settle with me at the moment, but maybe you have heard differently. Would be great to hear some perspective on this matter. I so enjoy your posts. It has been an encouragement in our time of ministry transition. Blessings to you and yours!


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