THE NEED TO DISCIPLE WORSHIP SPECIALISTS
The story is told of a medium-size church in the Western United States experiencing serious decline every year for better than ten years. The pastor expressed malaise as he explained that worship leaders were out of touch with the heart-strings of the people, had no real heart for any pastoral connect with the people, and they showed no signs of any vital personal worship life.
It seems that the pastor and worship personnel had never received discipling in personal worship. Though he explained he had had good seminary training in this area, he gave the clear impression that the real answer was, no, he had never had any intentional, guided discipleship in personal worship. He was then asked if the two part-time worship-leaders had ever been discipled in personal worship or in local church worship ministry issues. And to that question he clearly and quickly answered, No. Finally he was asked, Do you have any plans to disciple them in either personal worship practices or the dynamics of local church worship ministry? As one might imagine, his answer was, No.
This story is anecdotal, and not part of a formal sociological survey. But it still has great relevance. It reveals a situation that is much more the rule of reality than the exception. There is very little intentional effort, let alone interest in or awareness of the need for, discipling worship specialists. And this state of affairs reveals a very large, double-barreled need: the need to revive worship as the central focus of the Church, and the need to disciple worship leadership who can equip the saints for the great spiritual work of service.