Today for Leadership Journal, I interview my friend, Glenn Packiam, a pastor and songwriter in Colorado Springs. Glenn is a fellow Leadership Journal contributor and the lead pastor of new life DOWNTOWN, an extension of New Life Church.
He is the author of several books, including LUCKY: How the Kingdom Comes to Unlikely People and Secondhand Jesus. His latest is Discover the Mystery of Faith.Glenn also recently released an accompanying worship album.
I asked Glenn about the nexus of pastoring and songwriting:
You’re both a songwriter and a pastor. How does your creative side affect your preaching and leading?
A good sermon is, in many ways, like a good song. It has to have a solid hook that sums up the theme, something that will stick in their hearts and heads long after it’s over. It needs to have good verses that develop that theme and build up to it. There is a cadence to preaching that is also quite a bit like worship leading. Oftentimes as a worship leader, I wouldn’t know how many times we’d sing a chorus, or when we’d go to the bridge until the “live” moment. Preaching has that same feel for me. Sometimes riffing on an idea unexpectedly, letting the intensity build with a cadence of parallel thoughts and phrases, become the best moment of the sermon!
But I think the thing I’ve learned most about leadership from songwriting comes from the experiences I’ve had co-writing. In a co-writing session, you’ve got to check your ego at the door. You’ve got to work together to make the song the best it can be, regardless of who’s contributing more. Each person comes prepared, but holds their ideas loosely. And there’s a knowledge up front that credit is going to be shared evenly. We work in an environment that cultivates collaborative leadership. The lessons from co-writing apply as we work together on sermons, projects, events, and services. And it’s not because one person couldn’t have done it alone; it’s because we believe that we are better together.