1. Study under a great worship leader
This is the best way to learn and it can take on many forms. Jesus used this method to teach His disciples. His disciples ministered alongside Him for three years and then He sent them out to do it for themselves.
If you have a good mentor in your church, watch them and learn from them. In this situation you can watch them in weekly rehearsals and Sunday worship times. Study what makes them successful and learn from their strengths and weaknesses.
If you’re not blessed with a good mentor in your local church, search out a mentor. This can take many forms. You can go to worship conferences and watch the leaders and attend their classes. You can go to local worship events and watch leaders. You can attend other churches, as the opportunity arises, and note what each church does well (and not so well). You can also check out YouTube videos of worship leaders and note their different styles and ways of leading.
2. Make worshipping God a daily part of your life
Anything that you do daily, you improve on. Spending time with God on a daily basis is a basic prerequisite for being a worship leader. This should include daily time reading your Bible. My habit has been to read a Psalm and a Proverb every day and I use a daily reading plan that takes me through the whole Bible each year. Here is a link to the plan that I am currently using. It gives Old Testament and New Testament daily readings in a chronological order in the New Living Translation: Bible Reading Plan
Reading the whole Bible every year will give you an overview of how God works in people’s lives. I have read the Bible through every year for the last thirty plus years and God’s Word still speaks to me daily. The Bible has a way of being relevant for the situation that you are going through right now.
Another important part of spending time with God is in prayer. A well-known pastor once said that the key to his prayer life was ‘I pray and I obey’. The key to prayer is finding out what God wants you to do and doing it.
As you spend time with God daily, you will know Him better and love Him more. And your passion for worshipping Him will increase. The best worship leaders worship God much more privately then they do publicly. Your public ministry should only be the tip of the iceberg.
3. Learn the great worship songs
There are great worship songs coming from all over the earth. There has never been a better time to learn worship songs. We now have access to great songs and recordings from around the world. We now have websites that are full of the great songs that God is using.
Learn the old songs and the new songs. Memorize (9 Keys To Memorizing Music) these songs. Find the songs that God’s Spirit is resting on. Find the songs that are blessing the nations.
Side note: You are so much more effective when you memorize your music. Nothing is worse than seeing a worship leader and band with their heads stuck in the music stand. The congregation and the Lord deserves our full attention!
A great place to find the strongest worship songs is to look at the lists that CCLI (Christian Copyright Licensing International) has compiled. They track the songs that are sung in many countries around the world. Check out their new SongSelect Top 200 songs list. It’s a great list of current songs.
For more info on picking strong worship songs, check out my blog: 12 Keys To Picking Great Songs For Worship
4. Understand the progression of worship
Psalms 100:4 says ‘I will enter His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.’ God likes it when we come before Him with singing. One of the most common ways to begin a worship service is with songs of thanksgiving.
These songs are often songs that are sung about God as opposed to songs that sing directly to God. They are often (but not exclusively) faster songs that are more praise orientated. It often takes time for the general congregation to get warmed up in a worship service and starting with thankful upbeat songs is often the best way to start a service.
People often come to services with their minds on anything but God. A leaders responsibility is to help everyone focus on why they really came to church in the first place. Our main purpose is to meet God. Having a progression in the worship service can help people set aside other distractions and focus on God.
The progression of songs often goes from general upbeat songs that talk about God and give thanks to Him to songs that talk directly to God. When we sing songs that talk directly to God we are beginning the progression toward worshipping Him. The term ‘Praise and Worship’ indicates that general trend of going from praise songs about God to worshipping God directly.
It’s also important to keep your focus on the Lord as you lead. There are so many things to distract you from your main purpose of worshipping God. That’s why it is so important to really know the music ahead of time so the music doesn’t become a distraction. If you watch the great worship leaders, they are focused on the main purpose: worshipping God!
For more on this check out my blog: 8 Tips On Taking Your Sunday Morning Worship To The Next Level
5. Understand the importance of worship in the Bible
The book of Psalms, the largest book in the Bible, is a songbook. There are songs sprinkled throughout the Bible. Some of the greatest men of God were songwriters. Moses, David and Solomon were among the most prolific.
God is looking for people to worship Him. In John 4:23-24, Jesus said ‘But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as those to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
God loves worshippers. King David was called a ‘man after God’s own heart’. He was also one of the chief songwriters of the Bible and a man who loved to worship God. In spite of his failures, his desire was to be close to God and worship was one of the best ways for him to express that.
Worship and specifically, musical worship, is important to God. Never underestimate what God can do through anointed musicians and great songs of worship.
Question: What has helped you improve your worship leading? What areas are you working on in your worship leading?
Check out part 2 here: 10 Ways To Improve…
This blog is part of my vision to train over 100,000 worship leaders around the world. If you would like to support this vision you can help by giving any amount via PayPal here.