I think there’s an understandable but pervasive misconception about what worship pastors actually do for a living. Maybe we hang around and play our guitars, or we listen to music on our various shiny Apple products, or perhaps we sit at our desks and skim through our Bibles and our latest Musician’s Friend catalogs. To be fair, the majority of the public only sees us in our roles as worship leaders on a Sunday morning. And truthfully, how difficult is it to play a Chris Tomlin tune anyway? Maybe it is true that we only work on Sundays.
So I thought I might just share what happened to me yesterday, Thursday, a day not filled with meetings (that would be Tuesday) or rehearsals (that would be Wednesday). This is a day in the life of a creative arts pastor.
• I helped coordinate a memorial service for another church in town that was happening that evening. Our city is blessed in that the various churches work together closely to meet the needs of our community. One of the churches had an unexpected loss, and as they don’t have a building to meet, they approached us to host their memorial service. I was involved meeting with the family, and planning and coordinated volunteers to run sound, lights, and multimedia for the service.
• On the flip side of such a somber experience, I’m finalizing the programming for this weekend’s services, which is on “Joy.” I’m charting and learning an old funk tune by Rare Earth called “I Just Want To Celebrate” for a very upbeat worship service, and also coordinating some visual artists to paint during the services. I also assisted our senior pastor who selected a video to be played during his sermon. And we also have an artist reception for our Art & Soul Gallery after services that I need to be a part of.
• In the midst of that morning, a homeless man came into the office. I spent a few hours with this Iranian man who needed attention, and I listened to his story, affirmed him as a human being, and prayed for him. We were able to assist him in a practical way with gas cards, grocery cards, and some money so he could eat a real meal and renew his driver’s license (he’s sleeping in his car).
• We were under the gun to get some promotional materials out, so I completed some graphic designs for some upcoming events—two flyers, three web page fronts, and some graphic elements for associated slides. (Yeah, we Mac guys often get pegged as the “graphic designer guy” on staff.)
• In the midst of all that, I was finalizing a video of our annual river baptism. We will be viewing this video at the end of the services on Sunday. This included rendering and uploading the video to the cloud, and coordinating with our multimedia volunteers so they’ll have it by Sunday. Our river baptism, which happens each summer in the American River, is one of the personal highlights of my ministry year.
• While fielding emails (something I do in the cracks of my day), I received a reminder email from another volunteer who is beginning to build the set for our upcoming Christmas production (yes, September is a busy month for Christmas for us). She is waiting for some theatrical flats to be assembled, so I ran into the auditorium for an hour or so and started hammering away so everything would be ready for her by the weekend.
As you can see, worship pastors wear a lot of hats. We are pastors, whose job is to minister to those in need, and help and encourage others toward their spiritual formation. We are project managers for a variety of events and services and other enterprises associated with the organization of a church. We are involved in everything from the architecture of the church to the maintenance of the sound system to the design of the worship services to the budget for the following year. We are leaders of artists, recruiting and pastoring and training the various talented musicians, actors, visual artists, dancers, videographers, writers, and technical artists together in community. And we are artists ourselves, being a part of the creative process from conception to execution, from composition to performance. Oh, and there’s that thing we do on Sunday mornings, leading God’s people to the throne of the Almighty. Every once in awhile, we even pick up a hammer and pound away.
This morning, one of our pastors mused about what it is I do. She remarked kiddingly, “Every day, it seems like you have to pull a rabbit out of your hat!”
Sometimes I think I have the weirdest job in the world. But I’ve been doing this for a long time, and every day I am so very thankful to God and to the people of God for the opportunity to serve in these ways.