We’ve all heard horror stories of the wars that go on behind closed doors between worship leaders and their senior pastors. What’s the deal?! Why can’t worship leaders and senior pastors get along? Today we talk with Ben Sobels, Senior Pastor of Cypress Church, about what it takes to have a great relationship with your closest ally in ministry. If you’re a worship leader struggling with your senior pastor, or if you’re a senior pastor wanting to have a better relationship with your worship leader, this episode is for you! Feel free to pass it on to anyone you know who is struggling with this issue.
Alex Enfiedjian 00:12 Hello, everybody, and welcome back to another episode of the worship team podcast. My name is Alex Enfiedjian, and I am your host today. Thanks for tuning in. If you are a first time listener, welcome, we’re glad to have you. And this podcast is meant to equip and train worship leaders and worship team members to be the best that they can possibly be, that they might better bless their local church. That’s what we want to do. We want to help you listeners and even ourselves get better so that our churches can be more blessed by our giftings. And by the talents God has placed in us today is Episode 1516. I never remember whatever. It’s one of those. And this is a really cool episode because I’m talking to my senior pastor Ben sibyls, who is an amazing pastor, amazing leader, amazing man of God. And we talk about the importance of cultivating a strong relationship between senior pastors and worship leaders. And this relationship, unfortunately, has been strained in many churches, and many situations. I’ve heard of all sorts of horror stories from people who just hate working for their senior pastor and the senior pastor hates their worship leader. And that’s not that’s not the way that it’s supposed to go. These roles are too critical, too important, too upfront, to have tension and stress and conflict consistently happening between the worship leader and the senior pastor. So today, Pastor Ben and I discuss how to cultivate healthy relationships between you and your senior pastor, please feel free to send this episode on to your senior pastor and use it as a launch board to discuss these things as a team. So with that, let’s get into the conversation with Pastor Ben sibyls. Hey, everybody, I am here with Ben sibyls, the senior pastor of Cypress church in Salinas, California. Say hello, Pastor Ben. Hey, everybody, how are you? I think you should say Good day. Today. Okay. So fast events from Australia. But Ben, why don’t you tell our listeners a little bit about yourself and what your main role is at Cypress church?
Ben Sobels 02:28 Sure. Yeah. So I’m Ben and I’m married to Joanie, we have five kids We’ve been living in. I’ve been living in Monterey for the last 15 years. We’ve been at Cypress for the last five years. And got to know Alex, three years ago, we’ve been working very closely together as as pastor and worship pastor here at Cypress and it’s been an awesome three years, dude. And I’m really thankful to have an opportunity just to do this podcast with you. It’s fun.
Alex Enfiedjian 03:00 Yeah, so and you said worship pastor, but I’m not actually a pastor. He didn’t let me be a pastor. Well, I’m a music director, because he’s like, No, no, you’re too immature to be a pastor. No, that’s not true. I’m just kidding. Alright, so today we’re exploring what makes a healthy relationship between senior pastors and worship leaders. And I think this relationship in particular, and I think you’d agree, Ben is it’s one of the most crucial relationships in church staff, because these two people comprise like 99% of the upfront face time, on a Sunday morning, like, these are the two faces that the congregation sees almost every week. And so if there’s tension, or if there’s problems between worship leaders and senior pastors, it’s really easy to pick up on that. And so, sadly, and I think you probably agree with this. Sadly, it’s often the case that there’s tension between worship leaders and senior pastors, at least I’ve heard a lot of horror stories. So I actually don’t know if I ever told you this. But I know a worship leader who was pulled aside before servers screamed at by his senior pastor, and then the pastor’s are now gonna lead worship. Talking about tension, right? Oh, yeah, no, I could see myself doing that to you. Alright, so then, why do you think first of all, why do you think there are so many problems between worship leaders and senior pastors like just in the general sense? Why is it that those two positions clash a lot?
Ben Sobels 04:34 Yeah, no, I think I think you hit it on the head. right up front with the the upfront responsibilities of the pastor and the worship leader or pastor or director. They do have a very critical place in the life of the church rightly or wrongly. We’ve got this scenario where the whole church gathers once a week for, you know, an hour case scenario in 15 minutes and so between you and me, we make up pretty much an hour and 10 minutes. So that’s a lot of time for two people. And if those two people you can feel in the room, if two people are getting alone together because of the interaction between worship pastor and senior pastor on a given Sunday, it’s a really critical relationship, which means that relationship has to be good. And there’s a ton of reasons why I could think that the relationship would be stressed. Number one, it’s kind of high pressure, because it’s up front, right? If If things go sideways in the music, for the senior pastor to get up and preach after things have gone sideways, that’s going to be really frustrating to him that he’s not actually thinking about, like preaching the sermon and lifting up Jesus. But he’s thinking about that song that was included and went for 10 minutes, you know, too long, or whatever, the focus isn’t on Jesus. And so the cost is high. The pressure is we put the pressure on ourselves, but that pressure can be high. I think personalities are really key. I think if you’ve got personalities that clash, it can make it really hard. And quite often you’ve got pastors who are very, like, they’ve got to be kind of ordered. And just generally super overgeneralization. But worship, music, people are less ordered, and more like artistic, artistically inclined. And so I think that can create some tension in a lot of cases between you know, your, your very structured, ordered, pastor and your less ordered and more creative and artistic worship leader.
Alex Enfiedjian 06:41 And probably pride because everyone who stands on the stage gets prideful, because everyone claps at you all the time.
Ben Sobels 06:47 It can, it can be part of that, too. So yeah, that’s definitely part of it. I, I wonder sometimes whether these two people in the church really talk enough, you know, whether they actually spend focus time or whether they’re so busy managing their own stuff that they don’t actually connect together and spend the time to not only evaluate what they’re doing, but also build a relationship with each other. Because it’s, I mean, ultimately, it’s a relationship of trust and respect. And so I wonder sometimes whether that I’ve really appreciated that about you and me where we can get together for an hour every Monday, but it’s not just going over the service and me saying, Well, you know, whatever, critiquing, are you critiquing me, it’s, we’re praying for each other, we’re getting to ask each other how each other’s families are going, where we’re just living life together is part of the deal.
Alex Enfiedjian 07:38 And you’re saying, that doesn’t happen a lot of times, and you’re spending too little time with each other. And then when you don’t really know the other person, you kind of default to assume the worst about them, because you like, you never talk say like, oh, he gave me the stink eye? Because I don’t know, you know, like, you just assume the worst because you don’t actually spend the time together to like,
Ben Sobels 07:58 yeah, be friends. Yeah, that can totally happen. I think if the, the pastor has a vision for music in the church, that is that is different from the worship pastor. That can be a very easy thing to identify that could cause problems. And then like you kind of said before, like the Philippians two idea where it’s like, don’t do anything out of selfish ambition. But consider others more important than yourself like that. That seems like such a basic scripture. But if, if senior pastors and worship leaders had that kind of relationship, that there’d be a lot fewer problems, I think,
Alex Enfiedjian 08:46 I think, yeah, I mean, I think just the fact that they’re both leaders and leaders typically have strong opinions. Like, that could probably be one of the huge reasons why worship leaders and senior pastors always clash. And then I think, like you hit on it, the artistic versus the more ordered, and no, no, you can’t do a seven minute guitar solo, you know, like it’s, but but it’s for the Lord. Yeah, so, no, I think I think those are all really good reasons why there are so many problems in so many churches, between worship leaders and senior pastors. And I think you actually had an experience where you were, obviously the senior pastor, and you were working with someone who it wasn’t the best relationship. And I just wanted to kind of to hear what that was like working with someone that you guys just didn’t see eye to eye and also talk about maybe some of the patterns or the principles that you were seeing at work in that relationship, what was causing the difficulty between you and this particular person?
Ben Sobels 09:50 Yeah. So the point at which it got really difficult for me was when there was inferences and insinuations that that became a spiritual issue like I wasn’t a spiritualist as he was because I wasn’t letting the Holy Spirit lead. And so that felt to me very oppressive in what ways and, and like, and that’s just difficult to work in, in an environment where you feeling like you’re being talked down to. And that’s where I think you and I are a little bit different is because I don’t think this is like necessarily like I’m lording it over you or you’re lording it over me, I think we both get that we’ve got to do this together, we’ve got to serve one another and listen to one another and give feedback to one another and talk honestly to one another. And that’s the epitome of of a good relationship is that but when one person’s kind of on their high horse and speaking down at the other person, it becomes difficult to work alongside that over a long period of time, and it was a long period of time. And
Alex Enfiedjian 10:51 that’s a really important point. And I think if there’s any senior pastors listening, or if worship leaders, you want to send this episode to senior pastors. What Ben just said was that the the high horse looking down on or lording it over and authoritatively forcing someone to do what you want them to do all the time. Instead of working together as a team to plan and pray and work together, that becomes like you said, oppressive, and it becomes difficult to maintain for a long period of time when someone is looking down on so. And, you know, I think the listeners can tell already that you and I have a really good, I would say a great relationship. And I have my reasons why I think that this relationship has worked between you and me. But I’d love to hear why you think it worked. Like why is what we have? Why is it what we have?
Ben Sobels 11:52 Yeah. Yes, there’s some things about this, where I feel like it’s a it’s kind of like in Star Wars where Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, and you’re not really sure why it works. But it just does. Like, you know, the galaxies in the galaxy ends up being saved, because these two guys can work together. And it’s like, not that where we have a savior, Messiah complex or anything, but i think i think it works. And I think not to give you a big head, which would actually negate the first thing that I’m going to say about you. But I think it works because you’re humble. I think it works. Because you listen, I think it has worked because we care about each other. And that’s been established through like, it actually was established through just me saying we were going to meet together every Monday for one hour. And just the the imposition of that meeting has caused has given us the time to actually develop a good relationship. So
Alex Enfiedjian 12:50 I’ll stop you right there. So if a worship leader is listening, if you do not have a meeting with your senior pastors, you need to get him to agree to meet with the weekly, at least, I mean, at least bi weekly, right, but but weekly would be great. So
Ben Sobels 13:06 I think so I mean, I think that’s a good a good thing to do just from a. So everyone that I am responsible for here at the church, I meet with once a week for one hour a week. So there’s four people that I meet with one hour a week. And for me, that’s important discipleship time, you know, for us to be walking along, praying for each other, making sure we’re checking in with each other checking in on our families doing the whole deal. So it’s there’s like a, it’s more than just like a business meeting and evaluation meeting. It’s like, it’s a discipleship time for me. Okay, so humble, Macare about each other. You listen to me, you take direction. You know, if if I’ve got you listen to me in a way that if I’ve, I’m saying, Please, we really, I really want to do it this way. You’ll push back and you’ll give me a feedback. But then if it’s something that I really, really want to do, you’ll you’ll, you’ll submit to that and you’ll go with it. And sometimes it’s vice versa to this given taken this to where you’ll take my direction. And I’ll take your direction, sometimes sometimes, because I just, I’ve learned to trust and respect your judgment. And if sometimes you’ll say, I think this, this would be a great way to transition here and then into that, and the sun would be perfect. And then let me say these things. And I just go, I’m going to trust you, particularly in the last couple of years, like after the first year and maybe 15 months of you being here. And we had kind of built up that trust and respect. I feel like you’ve had a lot of freedom to plan and to work on transitions in the service and, and every song selection the whole bit. So I think that’s been really good. I think you and I share the same vision. You know, I think we we added the essence of of what we see for music here at Cypress, we want to see worship is raised up to lead worship for Christ. Church, whether it’s here at Cypress or an up church plant somewhere else, or in a ministry somewhere else we really want to see, not just paying people to lead worship, but raising up people from within the church to lead in worship, in ministries of the church, both inside the church and outside the church. So that’s been a really big deal. You know, other things, you are organized, you’re theologically minded, you think that you think through the theology of songs, the words of songs, what it’s teaching, the congregation, you’re concerned about those things. And one of the things that I’ve really appreciated because we have a very wide diversity of ages here is that you’re conscious of those ages, so. So you have learned to do some old hymns in a very contemporary way. And the blending of of that, for our congregation has been a huge blessing for the people at Cypress, because there’s been issues of music, quite honestly, here in the past, and you came in at a very important time, and established a sense of stability, that we could trust what the music was going to be, it was really good. And the way you lead was was really cool. And just at a very base level, you want to try to be a rock star, you know, I don’t have a mohawk. Well, that’s not even it, but you weren’t trying to be the center of attention. In you know, during the music, you really one of the things I really respect about you and have valued about you is that, you know, you hear the phrase, you know, you get out of the way. Well, you do. And I’m not really sure what that look how to do that. Except, you know, when I see it, and you do it.
Alex Enfiedjian 16:45 So what you just said, Ben, is the reason why our relationship has worked so well is because I’m the perfect worship leader. Oh, man, the humble thing just went away. Yeah, okay. Yeah. No, I want to point out a couple of things that you said one, and then I’ll add my my reasons why I feel like it worked, coming from what you’ve done, like your what you added to the relationship. But I think one thing that you hit on was that I supported you. And I stood behind what your desires were, and I stood behind your vision, and we shared that vision.
Ben Sobels 17:18 But you know, can I speak into that real quick? Yeah, sure. So for the first for the when you first got here, I don’t know if you remember this, but for the first year, I said, I really want to a lot of our one hour together for that first year was me working through song selection, who’s on the team, I mean, you you let me really kind of educate you on what I like, right? You let me do that. But then after about a year or so I kind of handed that over, you knew what I liked. And you really you ran with that. And then if you’ve developed it to a whole different level,
Alex Enfiedjian 17:51 right? And I was gonna kind of talk about that, because you’re right, the first year I came, you and I would plan sets together, I would bring my songs that I felt like match the sermon text, and then you would say, Well, I don’t really like this song, or why don’t we try doing this song? Or you’d come with two other songs and and you say, Can we fit these in? I really like these songs. And I would push back a lot of the time I would say Wait, that’s in a totally different key. They’re not even related keys, the tempo is like way different. And, and I’ll try to explain why I think my way is better. But ultimately, if you said no, I really want us to do this song, I would say, Yes, sir. You know, Your wish is my command. And I think that’s important for worship leaders listening that your senior pastor, he has a vested interest in the worship service. And in fact, I would say that God has called him to be the main worship leader of the church, like he is setting the vision and direction and pace for worship in your church. And it’s your job to support him, as he is the senior pastor and the under Shepherd under Christ, and he’s the main worship leader. God has given him a vision for the church. And so I would listen to you I would, I felt the freedom to kind of explain why I thought that song wouldn’t work or this wouldn’t work. But ultimately, I would go to my office and say, let me see if I can make these work. And and then after, like you said, After a year of you really educating me with what you wanted and what you like, then you kind of were like, well, he listens to me, he knows what I want. And he’s doing well. I’m gonna back off and let him lead. So I would say this to worship leaders who are listening, that it’s always your job to support the senior pastor in his vision. And if you can’t support him in his vision, then you shouldn’t be working at that church.
Ben Sobels 19:39 Yeah, just one of the one of the other things about that first year that you were here too, that I think is important, just to mention, because it wasn’t I just didn’t want to educate you in the way I liked things done. But part of it was you weren’t familiar with the culture that you’re entering into or the history of music here and so I wasn’t much ahead of yours only a couple of years ahead of Have you. But we’d already gone through a lot of shifting and changing and the church had come out of I mean, one of the questions that I was asked during our interview process here was what are you going to do about music. So music was a really big deal. And so I knew that this was like you coming in, I thought you had this sense that you would be really, really good. But I didn’t want to blow that up with immediately like, doing like a 10 minute guitar solo right in the middle of a service or something like I really did feel like a responsibility to the church to kind of help you just have time after a year of going through a whole calendar of like Easter, go through an Easter service with me go through a Christmas service with me. Just see how the church moves and flows and functions in the context of of these different seasons of the year. After that, I felt like, okay, you know, the church way better now. And and you even know, like, when you first came in, you’d say, Can we sing these songs, and it’s like, those songs have just been sung to death. Yeah. And now it’s time to move on.
Alex Enfiedjian 21:05 And I didn’t know that. And you did. And so I needed to be willing to listen to the the knowledge and perspective and context that you had that I didn’t have. So that was cool. So yeah, I supported you, I supported your vision. And that’s super important for worship leaders to do. So I’ll talk about a few of the reasons why I think our relationship then has been great. And maybe this will help some of the senior pastors listening to see how they can do better. But the first thing is that you cared for me as a person like you, you really did care. Like when we would meet on Mondays, it wouldn’t just be about the music, there was a big chunk of the meeting about that, but you, you actually had built into your weekly questionnaire, how is your soul? You know, like, how are you doing? Like, how can I be praying for you, not ministry, you, and you really cared? And you would always ask, how’s your family? How’s your wife? How are the girls? And you were praying for us? And you were actually like, tangibly supporting us like, hey, Joanie, and I will watch your kids. You, I don’t know how many times you offered that. So you really cared for me as a person. And then the second reason why I think our relationship worked Is that you, you let me have my life. And what I mean by that is, you weren’t, you were really good about not texting me on the weekends, I was actually bad about texting you. And you started to be like, you can’t do that anymore. It’s bad for you. And it’s bad for your family. And you were very right. Then that goes back to the first one, which is that you cared for me as a person. But yeah, you didn’t you didn’t text me on the weekends, for the most part, you wouldn’t email me on the weekends with special projects, or additional work. If you did, it was like, very rarely. And it was very simple like, Hey, can you import this video into the service for Sunday? And you know, you were telling me often, hey, you need to slow down. You’re working too hard, too fast, like, just relax. So you really you cared about me as a person and you let me have you tried to encourage me to have time away from work. And I think that’s rare, because I think a lot of senior pastors are like, I’m gonna squeeze every ounce out of my worship pastor, I want to call him all the time and text him all the time. And you but you, you’re very good about helping me separate work and family time, you tried to help me be good at it. And I’m still working on that. And then I think the main reason that it worked is that with time you trusted me. I mean, I earned your trust. And then you trusted me to do my job and you, you haven’t micromanaged me at all. Like, except for when I’m doing graphic design, then you’re like, Hey, move that over. But no, you You really don’t micromanage me. And I love that. And I think most worship leaders would love for their senior pastor to not be breathing down their neck, because as creative people, like, we want to spend the time to make something great and creative without having someone telling us every second of the way why it’s wrong or why, you know what they want us to do. So I think, because I earned your trust, you trusted me, and you just let me do what I do. And I, I really appreciated that.
Ben Sobels 24:15 Yeah, I think just thinking through with you right now that there’s a balance, right? I mean, maybe some people want complete autonomy, but no one I don’t think really anyone wants complete autonomy, that there has to be some kind of ongoing relationship there where, you know, it’s not like you get to do everything you want now, yeah. But you have you’ve you’ve really grown and developed in the last 12 months, particularly because you’ve had freedom and you’ve known the boundaries, and you’ve worked within the boundaries and the not my boundaries, the basically what the boundaries of that church. You know, you’ve really allowed the church to, you’ve come to know the church in a way that you know, how to get these people singing in some Sundays. I just Like no roof is gonna lift off. And on those Sundays, it’s just like a really, really special sense of like a gift from God because it’s like, all these things are coming together. But then even even just on a on a regular Sunday, there’s nothing regular really about it. But there’s just a sense that, I know that just as faithful as the sun comes up every morning, like you’re gonna bleed us into the presence of the Lord. And so there has to be some relationship between pastoring and worship leader. There has to be, there’s a balance between freedom to express and also boundaries, to work within, and the senior pastor has to have those boundaries to like, I can’t just preach for an hour and a half and completely blow up the service either. So we’re all functioning within boundaries, that the, you know,
Alex Enfiedjian 25:49 the church needs the church needs. Yeah. And I think another thing that I was thinking about while you were just talking is when you said, as faithful as the sun comes up, you knew that I was gonna lead well, but I was I thought you were gonna say, my kids since Well, I don’t have the accent back. So it just makes you sound smarter. So but if I thought you’re gonna say, as faithful as the sun comes up, that I was going to be there on time at 720 in the morning, setting up the stage and like, but you didn’t say that. But you could have said that. And I think that’s important to the trust wasn’t just in the music leading but in the responsibility factor, like you knew that I would take care of everything, that everything was under control, that the sound tax would be scheduled at the media people would be there that though the lyrics would be taken care of correctly, that you know, the that I would be on time that the doors would be unlocked. You know, all of that stuff. And I think worship leaders, do your do your senior pastors a favor and help them not worry, they have enough to worry about on Sunday morning, their sermon is still percolating in their head, and they are freaking out about it. So just take care of all your stuff and don’t add problems to their, to their worry.
Ben Sobels 27:02 Yeah, no, I think I think that’s a good it’s a good lessons, particularly Sunday morning, because there is a lot going on. There’s a lot of moving parts on Sunday morning. And so recognizing that’s not the time to have a heart to heart, leave that for Monday morning. But also recognizing that if there’s something that, you know, if I can do something myself that takes stuff off your plate, I need to do that, because I can’t add something to your plate at the last minute and vice versa. That that is something I’ve really appreciated recently about you, as you’ve learned that Sunday mornings, not a time to dump last minute things on me because i don’t i don’t i don’t handle it. Well, my brain doesn’t process through new information. Very. That’s why on Sunday afternoon, I’m trying to remember who did I talk to this morning? I just, I just don’t remember.
Alex Enfiedjian 27:48 Yeah, you don’t like last minute changes, but you’ll bring up a heap of ash pile to put on the stage. He actually did that he brought ashes and sat in them for one of his sermons. It was very good. Okay, Ben, let’s talk a little bit about teamwork. And how senior pastors and worship leaders can collaborate in planning like a cohesive, Christ centered service, I actually think we kind of covered most of this, we would sit down and we would talk through the songs and then you would give your input and say, Hey, we haven’t sung this song for a while. And, you know, maybe this song would fit better for the the sermon texts. But can you just talk about how we would go about planning our services, starting from even like the sermon text and what you’re preaching on? Like, how did you get me that information? And then how do we interact around that to plan something together?
Ben Sobels 28:42 Yeah, so the way that we’ve we’ve done it is usually about three months out of any, you know, for the fall series, or the spring. So you know, the new series over the summer series, I’ll try and get you the list of text for the next three months. And that way, you’ve got the text and what we’ve come to enjoy both you and I and I think the congregation is there is something special when the songs that you sing actually prepare you for the the scripture that you’re going to hear like this. There’s something really neat when that happens. And so I know that you’re very intentional about choosing songs that kind of lead us into already thinking about the scripture that we’re going to hear. So yeah, we get the sermon texts I get try to get some text to you three months, four months, five months in advance, so you can start planning, you start planning songs and setting teams and the whole bit. So it’s pretty organized. I mean, there’s a lot of work that’s done beforehand, that I’ve really appreciated about you that actually sets a lot of other people at ease, like the people who are running the slides for PowerPoint and the sound guys and the people on the team. They just they just know what to expect. And so I’m not I’m not thinking of other stuff. But now is there other things. So I just I think
Alex Enfiedjian 30:01 that’s really good. I think that the fact that you get me the text that you’re preaching on weeks in advance or months in advance instead of days in advance, because I know some senior pastors don’t give their sermon topic to their worship leader till Wednesday night. And the the worship leader has rehearsal on Thursday night, and he’s like, Oh, great, I got a pic song sending my team that that’s just not a good way to function. So I’ve really appreciated you being so organized and intentional about this is what we’re preaching on this date in this day, and it has happened where you’ve changed the sermon text or the passage or, or you got ahead of yourself a couple of weeks. And so the text was a little bit off. And when that happens, whatever, it’s not a big deal, the songs are still there, and grace, whatever. But just the intentionality. And I would encourage senior pastors to help your worship leaders like if you’re frustrated with your worship leader for not picking songs around the sermon topic, then it’s your fault for not getting them the songs early enough, or, or you haven’t communicated that, that’s what you want. But that’s, that’s how we’ve kind of done it. Ben sends me the sermon texts, months in advance, I start picking songs, he gives input, and I listened to his input, I push back friend with with friendliness. And then and then we land on something that we like, and I think the holidays, probably are the the most important thing to plan together with your senior pastor. Right? So how we’ve done that is we would usually, like if it’s Christmas, you know, December 24, we would sit down, you know, maybe September, or maybe October, and start talking about what do you want Christmas service to look like this year? Last year, we did this and I would bring the Planning Center print out, this is how we did it. These are the songs, do we want to do the same? Because it’s kind of nice to do things the same? Sometimes we want to mix it up. What are your thoughts? What do you want to do? It’s special or different this year. And so we start brainstorming three months in advance. And then I usually will come up with a plan. And I’ll bring that plan to your office. And we’ll sit down. And you’ll be like, hey, well, that looks good. But maybe we should do like a reading here or, and we’ll just interact around it until we’re both happy. You know. So that’s kind of how we do it. So team work. That’s that’s kind of the key to this whole thing. Like be friends, be allies be a team. So I want to kind of wrap things up with two last questions for you then. Give our listeners advice, like what would you say to the worship leaders who are struggling in their relationship with their senior pastor? What words of wisdom encouragement, advice, rebuke? What would you What would you give them? For the worship leaders listening who are like, Ah, my relationship with my senior pastor is so strained? Yeah.
Ben Sobels 32:57 I think one of the things that the Lord is really showing me about his church right now is that, that we need to really focus on working it out in love with one another. I think there’s so many people who are ready to bail too quickly on one another, and not persevere through hard stuff. interpersonally like, between a senior pastor and a worship leader, for example. It’s that if things go sideways, if they go sideways, for several months, we’re too quick to just bail, you know, either physically and leave or just emotionally shut down and kind of isolate ourselves. And so, you know, as, as to people who are have key roles in the life of the church, gosh, if if those two people can’t work it out in love, then, you know, we got to work it out and love because I mean, we’re setting it up as an example of, you know, potentially for the rest of the church. And there’s many examples of that. There should be many examples of that in the church. Not just that, but but that’s one of them. And it’s a very visible one on Sunday morning. Yeah,
Alex Enfiedjian 34:05 I mean, I’m just thinking about like, even in our own marriages, like, there’s one verse that keeps coming up in my head. Anytime I want to throw a little hissy fit, I just think of a verse that says, Love bears, all things, Love bears all things like, I’m going to bear this, you know, not that you’re a doormat, but you bear the difficulty and say, I’m going to work this out with my senior pastor, we’re going to make sure that we have a good relationship.
Ben Sobels 34:34 Well, one of the other things just building on that like to really love each other. You have to have the ability to be honest with each other. Like you can’t love each other. If one of you is super frustrated and starting to resent the other person because you but you never say anything. Like you really you have to talk and really work through stuff and be able to express in safety. You know what’s going on because if you’re dying inside, and I am completely oblivious to it. But you’re not telling me and then you’re building up with resentment. But then when you try to say something you’ve kind of, you know, there’s so many bad things if you don’t talk, I mean it, whether it’s in marriage or any relationship. And it’s it’s true of this relationship between pastor and worship leader too, I think,
Alex Enfiedjian 35:18 yeah, and talk. But I would say I’ve tried to talk with people in the past leaders, senior pastors, who just kind of nodded their head and smiled and like, didn’t really listen or didn’t do anything to change. And that’s, that’s like, a killer right there. Like that’s like, you know, that the relationship is, quote, closing in on him, and because if they’re not gonna actually hear what you’re saying, so senior pastors, you’ve got to listen and understand and respect what they’re saying, when they do come talk to you. So that’s good talk, listen. So that’s for the worship leaders bear it out. Don’t Don’t bail so quickly. But I would also say, if you, like I said earlier, if you cannot support your senior pastors vision, then you are the wrong guy for the job. Right? Wouldn’t you say that? That is a true statement? Like if, if you just absolutely are on totally different pages, then get out of the way and let him find someone who’s actually going to help support the church vision? Right.
Ben Sobels 36:19 Yeah, I think that it’s, I mean, I think what you’re saying is right on, and I think what it means for me and for churches, you know, and for our churches, like, if there’s ever a transition, in worship, Pastor leadership, then you really have to put as much time in upfront in trying to find somebody who really is going to fit. And I know that that’s one of those little things that people like thrown around, but, but it really does need to be a good fit, and you need to do that work. Because the tendency is, as soon as your worship leader leaves, then you just gotta find someone, you got to find someone that can is going to play songs, because you know, so the pressure is on to find somebody, and in that pressure, you can bring somebody on who is not going to be a good fit. And it’s because you didn’t take the time to really get to know that person, and really work through, you know, is this person not just gonna fit with me? But is this person going to fit without the rest of our staff team, because your interactions with me, are, you know, just one thing, but I mean, you’re, you’re working very closely, alongside, you know, eight 910 other people, and alongside 500 other people. So I think that’s a really important thing up front, when you’re looking for a worship leader for the church. There’s a lot of time that should be invested in that search process, because and there’s only so much you can do, but you should be very, like, that’s the tension I’m feeling is trying to find somebody knowing that we’ve we’re, there’s a pressure on on us to find somebody but at the same time, this is a really key position. And if this position is filled by someone who wants to be a rock star and does not care so much about the church, that can be a disaster.
Alex Enfiedjian 38:11 Yeah, put the time in upfront. Okay, so the last question then then is for senior pastors, what would you tell the senior pastor who’s listening? Because their worship leader sent them this episode? Because they wouldn’t listen otherwise? But what would you tell that senior pastor to help them in building a solid relationship with their current worship leader?
Ben Sobels 38:32 Yeah, for me, it’s for me with you, it’s been viewing you as an opportunity, like our relationship as a discipleship relationship, where we’re walking alongside of each other, helping each other, sharpening each other. There has to be mutual respect, and trust, and all those things built up. But for me, it’s been a discipleship process. And it’s helped me grow my understanding of discipleship because this is not just a working relationship, you know, God’s called me to walk alongside of you, and for you to walk alongside of me and for us to sharpen each other. So for me, that’s been an important growth aspect of aerolite that our relationship has caused me to grow in which I’ve really appreciated. But this is I feel like this has been kind of a unique deal but for me, that’s been one of the learning curves for this is like I need to as the pastor, I need to view this as an opportunity to disciple and be discipled by my worship pastor because you your worship pastor is hopefully a very godly person. And so there should be a sharpening both ways.
Alex Enfiedjian 39:43 Three, that’s really good. Okay, so that is the end of the episode. I think what I’d like to do is actually ask you to pray for the senior pastors and worship leaders who are struggling in their relationships. Can you close this with the prayer asking for unity and forward movement in the right direction for them.
Ben Sobels 40:03 Yeah, for sure. Lord, we just thank you so much for the gift of being able to serve you every week and being able to be a conduit for people to come into your presence and sing praises to you and he or word. Lord, I pray for senior pastors and worship leaders who are listening to this podcast, I pray that you would cause them if they’re struggling to take very practical steps in in working through their relationship and being honest with one another, and humbling themselves before one other and considering each other more important than the other. I pray that you would cause and use the relationships between senior pastors and worship leaders to be the catalyst for great worship services all around this country and around the world because ultimately, our purpose Lord is to worship young man What a great opportunity passes and worship leaders have to lead your people in worship Gosh, bring us Revelation chapter seven people from many tribes, nations and tongues, filling our churches and worshipping you Jesus as the Savior. That’s what our great vision for worship is Lord. And so I pray that you’d make that a reality in our churches for Your glory in your church. We love you and praise you in Jesus name. Amen. Amen.
Alex Enfiedjian 41:23 Well, that’s it for today. Thank you so much for tuning in. Thank you, Pastor Ben for taking the time to do this episode. And for just being an awesome senior pastor. It is such a privilege to serve alongside of you. And I’m so thankful for you. listeners, I hope this episode was encouraging to you. Please send it on to your senior pastor if you think it would be helpful. And I just want to encourage all of you listening whether you’re a senior pastor or a worship leader, work together pursue unity be friends. Love one another well and bear through the hard times together. And if this episode was helpful to you, and you want to keep getting great content, please subscribe to us via iTunes. That’s the best way to make sure you never miss an episode. And you can also find us on Twitter at worship team pod pod. So come say hello. We love to hear from our listeners. And in the meantime, may God bless you and your senior pastors as you work together to lead Christ’s Church in worship this weekend. And for the rest of the weekends of the year until we meet again at our next episode.