3 questions with Bob Kauflin

Communications Staff — May 24, 2010

Bob Kauflin serves as director of worship development for Sovereign Grace Ministries and is one of the worship leaders at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Md.

As a student prepares for future ministry in worship leadership, how should he balance time spent on honing musical excellence and on biblical/theological study?

You strive for, and can achieve, musical excellence to some degree in a certain amount of time. Biblical/theological study will continue for the rest of your life so that is the priority. Now, I went to school and played music for significant parts of the day in college and never regretted it. I think it is important while you are here in school to really hone your musical skills.

For someone who is trying to decide, ‘which courses do I take?’ I would stick to ones that will most directly impact your ability to serve in the future. So, if your musical skills have gotten to a place where they are sufficient to serve then I would pull back on the musical side and really dive into the theological side. If, on the other hand, your conducting or arranging is not where it needs to be, then get the practice now. Do that now and then focus more on biblical/theological studies later. Whatever you do, always make sure that you are maintaining communion with the Lord so that you are doing the music for the right reasons.

How should a senior pastor going into a church with a worship leader already in place work with that worship leader if he sees things he thinks should change?

I wrote a chapter in my book, “Worship Matters,” — the last chapter — that is addressed to pastors. The first thing I would do is make sure he knows you are for him. I would not go in and start changing things right away. Express encouragement for whatever you could that the worship leader is already doing. And then I would say, “I know you care about our times of singing like I do. Let’s study a book together.” You could take a book like “True Worship” by Vaughn Roberts, my book, or “Engaging with God” by David Peterson – that one is a little more substantive – or you could even do chapters from a book. You could each read the chapter and then talk about it. So, the first thing I would try to do is win the heart of the music minister. If that fails, and he isn’t going to change, then he probably won’t last. On the other hand, if, as you read with him, he starts to see things, then I would start to talk about how what he is doing might be altered to fit more in line with the things you are talking about. This should be loaded with encouragement, “Thank you for doing this.” Don’t try to hit everything at once, take it one step at a time.

Why are you writing another book? What is the goal of the book?

“Worship Matters” is directed toward worship leaders and teams: those who are responsible for leading. This new book will be for the congregation and it will be less than half the size of “Worship Matters.” The benefit of a smaller book to give to congregations is that Sunday morning doesn’t become the only time when you are training them and teaching them about worship.

A worship pastor could give this to someone in the congregation, a number of people perhaps, and say “This is what we want you to be thinking about what we are doing on Sunday morning, especially as it relates to the music.” In doing this, you can address a number of issues that Christians usually have to battle as they are sitting in a Sunday service: “Why do we sing so much?” What if I don’t like the songs?” What if I don’t like the worship leader?” “What does this have to do with my life?” Questions like that that you just can’t take the time to answer every Sunday. My aim in even thinking about writing a book like this is to magnify the greatness of Jesus in people’s hearts. It is due out in April 2011.

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