I’m absolutely loving life in Southwest Missouri! I know I’ve neglected my blog over the last 3 months since I started my new role as a Campus Pastor at Forest Park, but it was a sacrifice that I had to make to keep my sanity. With settling into a new city/moving, new job, the tornado/disaster relief and the work of ministry – it’s been all I could do to occasionally blog for our church’s website and even that has suffered. I hope to get back to regular updates soon.

So, I’m putting together my team here in Carthage, Missouri – a great small town about 15 minutes from Joplin (where the Tornado hit and where our original campus is). Carthage is a unique and special small town (population 15,000-18,000). You can drive 15 minutes to Joplin and have a variety of restaurants, shopping and movies, but we have our own Drive-In Movie Theater on the original Route 66! Pastors at our church get a free annual pass to the Drive-In and all Carthage High School football games in the Fall. Football is big here!

Carthage is also home to Marian Days (currently going on this week. You have to see it to believe it). It’s when 70,000 Vietnamese people come to town and congregate for a week. There are tents and people everywhere! Carthage is also home to the Maple Leaf Parade (happening this October), which is the largest parade in the Midwest and will feature 50,000 people – again we’re a town of 15,000. In the late 20th century, the town began actively courting tourism, emphasizing its history (the Battle of Carthage, Victorian architecture, and Route 66), as well as its proximity to the Precious Moments hotel and store, along with the popular country music destination Branson, Missouri. Did I mention Carthage is also the home of the Precious Moments Park and Chapel, a tourist attraction with paintings and oversized depictions of the popular porcelain figurines? Come visit and I’ll take you on a tour. We are in what’s called the Four States Region of the country and are a short drive from Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, St. Louis, Branson, Arkansas, Kansas, etc. We’re just 6 hours from my old home in Dallas, TX.

So… I’m slowly building my team. Over the last 3 months, I’ve put together a lay Leadership Team. I’ve increased our Student Pastor’s time and pay and I’ve hired a part-time Kids Pastor. Now, for the next crucial step for our campus, I’m looking for an amazing and dynamic Worship Pastor to join our team.

Before I dive into the questions I have for you, let me mention that if you or someone you know is interested or looking for a worship position, please have them contact me. My church email is grega@fpbc.net. You can check out our church website at www.ForestPark.tv (please know we will build a new website in the future) and on Facebook. Forest Park is a dynamic and vibrant church in the Four States Region that is doing some very innovative things here in Southwest Missouri. We’re the only multi-site church that I know of here and we are what’s called a Pacesetter in the Missouri Baptist Convention – that means we’ve baptized over 100 people in a year. Our Senior Pastor has been here 15  years and we’ve baptized over a hundred people each year for 15 years – that’s over 1500 people! We’ve already baptized over 100 people this year and it’s August. That’s a lot for our part of the country. I say this because you need to know that we’re highly evangelistic and have a huge focus on outreach and evangelism.

I think I offer a unique perspective as a boss, Campus Pastor and friend to a would-be Worship Pastor at our campus as I’ve spent the last 17 years in worship ministry, producing worship experiences, serving as a Worship Pastor, Creative Arts Pastor, Tech Pastor, Director of WorshipHouse Media and consultant to some of the largest and fastest-growing churches in the country. I’ve had the privilege and honor to consult with some amazing churches, including Outreach Magazine’s Fastest Growing Church in the Country last year (12 Stone in Atlanta). I’ve also consulted and helped churches where Lincoln Brewster, Shane and Shane, Desperation Band/Jon Egan and the lead singer for Building 429 were leading worship. So, I know and have seen worship and the arts done on a high level and I have a true appreciation for what a Worship Pastor does, as well as a heart for worship. I’m a worshiper and when you lead worship at our church, you will look down and see me worshiping and focused on God (not my notes). All that to say, if you want to work for someone that “gets it” – give me a shout.

For the rest of you: What questions do you ask when hiring a Worship Pastor? I have some thoughts, such as:

  • What is your definition of worship?
  • Describe what worship looks like and why it’s more that music.
  • What does it mean to live a lifestyle of worship?
  • Do you have a theology of worship?
  • Do you have a personal mission statement?
  • Explain your call to ministry.
  • Explain your specific call to be a lead worshiper.
  • Have you studied at a Bible college or seminary? (this can be both good and bad – as far as seminary)
  • Do you have a good grasp of the Bible, theology and consider yourself to be of sound doctrine?
  • We are a Southern Baptist church with a non-denominational feel (we don’t use “Baptist” in our name and brand ourselves as Forest Park) – however, are you baptistic in your beliefs and in agreement with Baptist doctrine? (This is important to both me and our Senior Pastor)
  • Do you play an instrument? Do you lead from an instrument?
  • The Bible instructs us to “play skillfully.” Do you work at your craft? Do you exercise your voice and practice your instrument daily?
  • How often do you introduce a new song?
  • Do you write any of your own songs?
  • Do you arrange songs? Do you arrange old hymns and breathe new life into them occasionally? (We don’t do a lot of hymns)
  • Can you chart out music for your band? Can you listen to a song on the radio or iTunes and chart it out by ear?
  • What are some of your musical influences?
  • What are you listening to in your car, office and iPod?
  • Can you coach a band and get the most out of them?
  • Do you know how to give professional musicians direction?
  • Do you know how to give weak or poor musicians direction?
  • What are some of your core or favorite songs these days?
  • Who are some of your favorite Christian songwriters?
  • Who are some of your favorite non-Christian songwriters?
  • How familiar are you with media, tech (sound, video and lights)?
  • Are you comfortable and competent recruiting and building a team of musicians?
  • Are you comfortable and competent recruiting and building a tech team? (We have a Multi-site Tech Director that will train people you recruit. You just need to find them.)
  • Flat out: Are you a team builder?
  • Are you an equipper or a doer?
  • Can you work hard and play hard?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • Do you have a sense of humor?
  • Can you handle pranks?
  • Are you engaging in worship and do you connect well with people from the stage?
  • Do you engage and connect well with people off the stage?
  • Can you administrate and schedule musicians and tech team members weekly?
  • How far out do you plan?
  • How would you describe your abilities when it comes to creative worship planning and brainstorming?
  • Do you plan worship in solo or are you a part of a creative planning team?
  • Are you more creative or administrative?
  • Are you a people person?
  • Are you in a small group?
  • Could you lead a small group?
  • Would you disciple your worship team and volunteers?
  • Are you comfortable in a multi-site environment (most of our teaching is done via video)?
  • Have you taken the StrengthsFinder2.0 test? If so, what are your top 5 strengths?
  • What are you top 3 Spiritual Gifts?
  • Are you looking to settle down and invest in a community for a long time? (This is important as we’ve had some turnover in the past and our church needs some consistent leadership)
  • Have you read the book Simple Church? Are you familiar and comfortable with the “Simple Church” philosophy? At Forest Park, we worship, grow and serve – that’s it. No musicals, no Passion Plays, no choirs, no orchestras. SIMPLE.
  • Are you passionate about reaching the lost?
  • Are you comfortable with an externally-focused church?
  • Read through the 3 Lost Parables in Luke 15 and share with me what you think God was trying to get across about His heart for the lost.
  • Will you do whatever it takes to reach people for Christ?
  • Are you a team player?
  • Do you have a strong work ethic?
  • Are you driven? What drives you?
  • Are you an intentional and strategic leader? Explain.
  • Do you have a mentor?
  • Do you mentor anyone else?
  • How long have you been leading worship?
  • Do you get pure joy in leading people into the Presence of God?
  • Are you a Mac or PC person?
  • Do you use tracks?
  • Are you comfortable playing with a click?
  • Explain your struggle with pride. I ask because I’ve yet to meet a pastor (Worship Pastor or Senior Pastor) that doesn’t struggle at least a little at some point with pride.
  • Do you struggle with porn?
  • What are your greatest strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What would your wife say is a weakness for you?
  • What are the last 3 books you read?
  • Who are some of your favorite authors?
  • Do you know who A.W. Tozer is? Have you read any of his work?
  • Who are some of your favorite preachers?
  • What’s your favorite movie?
  • What’s your favorite sport?
  • What makes you laugh?
  • Who is the greatest boss you’ve ever had and why?
  • What conferences do you go to?
  • Who do you think are the leaders in design today (name companies that have a strong brand)?
  • Who is your personal favorite worship leader?
  • Why are you looking for a new church?
Don’t send a resume if you can’t pull off songs by Hillsong United and Chris Tomlin. Don’t send a resume if you use a praise team with SAT vocals. You, by yourself, or you with a female singer is great! Don’t send a resume if you’re not comfortable leading worship in jeans. Worship leaders: If any of this resonates with you and you want to answer these, contact me. Don’t let the first few questions intimidate you – just give me your honest answers.
In all sincerity, I love what I do and we have a great time as a team. Our Leadership Team is made up of high caliber leaders that are passionate about reaching the lost and loving on a community. We have a large percentage of our campus involved in LifeGroups. Groups coming up this Fall include Radical (David Platt) and Crazy Love (Francis Chan). This Fall we’ll kick off a new capital campaign and the number one priority for our church (all 3 campuses) is to build a new campus for Carthage. We’re gearing up for a big Fall and finding our next Worship Pastor is a key piece to the puzzle. Once we get this person in place, I think the skies the limit. Holla!
These are just the first questions that popped into my head. What are some questions you’d add? What did I miss? Help me out, friends.

Greg Atkinson

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