Carlos Whittaker asks a great question this morning over at Ragamuffin Soul. Worship Pastor or Program Director? He’s served in both roles, and has some great insight on the differences between being on the platform, and being behind the scenes.
From the service programming director position I was in more of a producer role. The PRO was I saw everything from the view of the attender. The CON was I only saw the backs of their heads and not their faces.
From the worship pastor position I was in a more of a leadership role.The PRO was I saw everyone’s faces. The CON was I did not see the room from the view of the attender.
My view is that it’s not an “OR” question at all. Even in relatively small churches, someone needs to fill the stage manager / producer / program director role.
First, playing producer probably isn’t exactly in line with the gifts of a typical worship leader. It’s a detail oriented job. Not that there aren’t worship leaders who can handle that requirement, but in my experience, it’s not where their gifts usually are.
Beyond that, it’s a distraction. You won’t be at your best as a worship leader if you’re also worrying about the fact that the volunteers who take the kids to children’s church after the children’s moments aren’t there yet.
Even in a relatively small church, someone who can manage the details of getting it all put together is a huge gift for both worship leader and pastor. They have enough to manage on Sunday.
I would also argue a producer’s role is much more than just clerical. Ideally, they should be on equal footing with the other worship leaders and also viewed as a leader. A good producer is making as much a creative contribution as they are in logistics, planning and execution.
Producers and Program Directors are some of the hardest slots to fill, whether you’re putting together a Sunday morning worship service, or putting on a newscast. The job requires creative chops, the ability to manage creatives, and the ability work under pressure, quickly and efficiently. When you find someone who is great at these things, take care of them. They’re valuable!