The 5 Mistakes Churches Make In Worship Pastor Searches


In the many Worship Pastor searches we’ve completed here at Vanderbloemen Search Group, we’ve walked churches through the Worship Leader hiring process numerous times. With that perspective, combined with our team's expansive experience with church staffing, we’ve noticed a few potential missteps that churches are tempted to make when evaluating Worship Pastor candidates.

Here are 5 mistakes churches may make when searching for their next Worship Pastor:

1. Judging Only The Candidate’s Video Sample

This is the number one mistake we see our clients make in the Worship Pastor hiring process. Here at Vanderbloemen, we strongly encourage our clients to look past a  video worship sample and take the step to get to know the candidate in person before writing them off. Don’t judge too quickly on poor audio or video quality or one note off pitch. Churches pass up on great Worship Pastors far too often based upon a quick judgment solely off of one video.

We know what clients are looking for and we hear their feedback regarding candidates’ worship sample videos. Because we have seen this happen so many times, we’ve even written a blog post for our worship pastor candidates to help them understand how to create a better worship sample video resume. Worship Pastors, check it out here.

2. Not Understanding The Candidate’s Current Context 

The Worship Leader candidates you are looking at are currently playing in a variety of specific settings. You must take into account the context of their current environment in order to understand if they would be a potential fit for your church. Do they have total creative control over the weekend worship experiences at their church? If not, be especially careful in judging their video samples. Are their band members and vocalists paid professionals or all volunteers? What is the current budget they have management over? Are they being challenged in their current role? Be a student of the candidate in order to discern their current context and their potential in a different setting.

3. Hiring For Perfect Pitch

We all enjoy that amazing vocalist who entertains us with perfect pitch and control. I would argue that the ideal Worship Pastor is one with solid vocals, instrumental talent, great stage presence, and a pastoral heart. It’s important to find someone who can embody all of these characteristics without alienating any single one. Any one of those characteristics on its own does not make for a successful Worship Leader. Beyond the music, how does this person relate to staff members and the congregation? What is their walk with Christ like? There are more important aspects to a Worship Pastor than just having superb vocals.

4. Not Defining The Type Of Leader Desired

Are you looking for a Worship Pastor or a “rock star?” As a team, it’s important to define this before you begin your search, or you may end up with missed expectations. If the goal of your weekend experiences is to be an attractional ministry and grow your church through the weekend worship model, then you may be looking for a rock star type. Other churches are looking to develop their worship culture as a lifestyle and desire to hire a Worship Pastor who can not only lead the weekend gathering but also walk slowly through the crowd by ministering to the congregation and pastoring the volunteers as well. Remember to clearly define the type of Worship Leader you are looking for before beginning your search so that everyone on your team is headed toward the same target.

5. Not Paying Well

It’s important to remember that the Worship Pastor is generally the second most influential person in the church. Paying your staff well and commensurate with experience and responsibility is key here. There is a tremendous amount of impact that the Worship Pastor has on your church, and a superb Worship Leader is invaluable. Paying your staff well adds value to team members by not only taking care of their families but also ensuring they are content in their roles and feel valued

If you’re not sure about what your Worship Pastor's compensation should be – or any other senior leader's compensation in your church – we’d be happy to give you more information about our customCompensation Analysis.

What are other potential traps churches may fall into when searching for their Worship Pastor?

If you liked this, then you’ll also like 5 Things Your Worship Band Isn’t Telling You.