The emerging role of the Producer has been one of the most positive developments in churches looking for higher standards of excellence in weekend services.
But has the trend gone too far?
That was a question recently posed to Tim Schroeder, the National Pastor for The Leadership Centre Willow Creek Canada (WCA’s Canadian affiliate).
In this role, Schroeder keeps his finger on the pulse of the Canadian church, and what he sees emerging in Canada frequently has echoes in the United States, and beyond.
“In some places,” Tim answered, “The role of the weekend Producer has usurped the role of the pastor. We need to watch this.”
The role of weekend Producer is a relatively new phenomenon, really gaining prominence only in the last 10 to 20 years.
In the early days the Producer came along side the pastor in order to leverage the arts to more effectively convey the spiritual theme developed by the pastor.
As the role of the producer became more and more widespread, weekend church services improved in a number of significant ways. Among them,
- More creative uses of arts were embraced,
- Certain “moods” which could enhance the pastor’s message were created,
- Transitions between worship songs became tighter,
- The overall quality of production elements, including the use of technology, improved.
But, as Schroeder noted, every positive church trend can reach a point where there needs to be a season of correction; to pull back the reins on an otherwise positive development.
The potential for concern today lies when the Producer, originally designed and intended to serve the spiritual direction set by the pastor, becomes the primary driver of content in the weekend service.
What are the warning signs this is happening?
1. The Producer begins to influence the sermons series, and the sermons themselves,
2. The Producer becomes the final voice on the weekend service program, instead of the pastor carrying this role.
3. Decisions begin to be driven more by “production excellence” than by “spiritual discernment”.
The role of the producer is a positive one. Properly positioned it can greatly enhance the spiritual direction of the service.
Just be sure that, at the end of the day, the person charged with the spiritual responsibility for the congregation is “calling the shots”.
And that’s you, pastor.
Where do you stand? Do you think Producers are gaining too much influence?