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How to Hire A Worship Leader

How to Hire A Worship Leader

By Keith Terwilliger on November 26, 2012

This article is a part of a new feature on our site. It is a series we call "The Leadership Roundtable" - where a team of us takes a question that was submitted to us and answers it here on our site so that it may help others out there that may have the same question. If you have a question you'd like to submit, contact us!

"Hi! I just stumbled across your website and love all the info you have. I wondered if you have some ideas on how to find a worship leader. We are currently considering a change in our worship to reflect music like you have here. I am a bit at a loss where to begin to find someone. Suggestions?"

A Great and yet challenging question!  The best place to begin is with your own church and the people with you.  Finding a person within your midst has a number of advantages:

  1. They will have the DNA of your region’s culture and have a heart for the future of the church body.

  2. Morale is often elevated when a church knows their worship leader is homegrown.  It proves to them that God is moving in the people of their church, not just leadership importing someone so the church can be more like all the others.

  3. The worship leader will be open to the leadership and church structure more than that of an outside hire.

  4. The homegrown worship leader will lead out of relationships and history in the church and community which is priceless.  Often, it takes 2-5 years for an import minister to truly be established and for people to acclimate to him or her.

  5. A homegrown worship leader is likely to be a permanent hire and fixture in the church.  Outside hires usually last anywhere from eight months to four years.  sometimes more if the right fit is found and the calling is sure.

How would you go about finding them?  

Cast the vision from the Sunday messages about the need for changed worship expression within the church.  Communicate the search and invite people who have the heart and same desires to meet with the leader(s); scouting the new worship leader out.  Have auditions if necessary.  Sometimes the talent is evident from knowing the individual.  Although, the leadership aspect must be tested and developed over time.

It’s crucial to not get impatient during the process.  It’s very easy to hit up a church staffing website prematurely and hire a worship leader with the best looking resume, but end up with an Ishmael worship ministry due to being antsy.  

Now, there is not a thing wrong with hiring outside if you know it’s the best thing for the church.  If hiring outside, The best thing is to have a personal recommendation from another pastor, leader or group of individuals.  

Here are some keys to hiring outside:

  1. Check within your affiliation or denomination first.  It’s always better to get similar DNA.

  2. Scout out Bible colleges known for worship. Contact the college and get your church's name and the job position posted at their campus.

  3. Use the largest, most comprehensive church staffing websites.  Or, look for the site that has the most selection that coincides with your affiliation/denomination.  

  4. Get resumes very early and pick your top four.  Sometimes the more resumes the more sidetracked you can get.

  5. The senior pastor must connect with the worship leader candidate during the whole process. Absolutely no exceptions.

  6. Make sure you are willing to invest into travel and lodging for at least six times for interviews and weekends for the candidate to lead worship.  It is the church's job to flip the bill in courting the candidate and moving them in.

  7. Contact church leaders/deacons and get their thoughts.

  8. Check with newer church attendees and veterans, ask them their opinion.

  9. Make sure your staff and/or boards are in unity regarding the hire.  They may not always like the individual entirely or the style, but the position needs agreement.

  10. Last and not least, do not vote on the position or person if you can help it.

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Keith Terwilliger

Keith Terwilliger (Guest Writer)

Pastor, Executive Administrator and Business/ Leadership Consultant. This drummer/ musician and junkie for collecting rare bibles, has a heart for God and greatness, but most of all a heart to be close to Him. Keith resides in Michigan with his wife and son.