This is the 2nd of two parts: Check out part 1 here: 10 Ways To Improve…
6. Learn a musical instrument
Most worship leaders play an instrument. It is not a prerequisite but it is of great help. The two main instruments for a leader are the guitar and the keyboard. Piano generally takes longer to be proficient at, so I suggest that people who take up an instrument later in life should take up the guitar. Obviously the earlier in life that you start playing an instrument, the better chance you have at being proficient at it.
I have written a whole blog on this subject: 6 Keys To Learning A Musical Instrument
Another great way to learn is just to listen and copy the worship songs that you want to learn. Take it note by note, chord by chord and learn to listen what the keyboard or guitar player is playing. This is often the most effective way of learning once you get past the basic playing level of an instrument. Copying the players on professional recording will teach you better rhythm and help you learn a variety of styles. It will also help develop your ability to play by ear.
7. Learn to sing to the best of your ability
Singing is a big part of leading. You do not have to be an awesome singer to lead worship but the more acceptable your tone, pitch and vibrato is, the less distracting it is to the congregation. The opposite can also be true, great singers sometimes do not make good worship leaders. They are often too busy vocalizing to facilitate the average singer in the congregation.
Leaders should generally just sing the melody. The leaders voice is usually highest in the vocal mix and if you sing harmonies it will often throw off weaker singers in your congregation. It is ok to throw in an ad lib occasionally but do not let it become a distraction. Learning to ad lib in the various musical forms is an art form, use good taste and discretion and listen to recordings of yourself frequently.
Check out my blog on this subject: 10 Keys To Improving Your Singing
8. Learn a variety of different styles of songs
Variety is the spice of life. A congregation appreciates variety. The tastes of most congregations represent a huge spectrum of music. Pop, rock, rhythm and blues, country, folk, Irish, classical, ballade, Jewish, gospel and alternative are among the many styles that can be used in worship services. Putting the right style with the right song can bring the song to life. Learning new styles, rhythm feels, chord progressions and voicing is a great way to grow musically. Don’t get stuck in a rut.
Music is constantly changing and we should grow and change with it. God is not limited to a style. Classical styled worship music is not more spiritual than pop or rock styled worship music. It’s the lyrics and heart of the musicians that define the spiritual depth of a song.
9. Learn to communicate in front of your congregation
Effective communication comes in many forms. The way we speak, act and dress, all communicate volumes to our congregations. Learning to speak in public is hard for many people. Polls indicate that speaking in public is many person’s greatest fear. Worship leaders are not required to speak volumes but the right word at the right time is very effective. Worship leaders should always remember that they aren’t the preacher. Some of the most effective worship leaders speak very little.
Learn to overcome such problems as stuttering or talking too fast. Learn to speak clearly and succinctly. Learn good grammar and don’t get in the habit of using to many clichés. Saying ‘Amen’ and ‘Hallelujah’ every second word usually shows insecurity on the part of the speaker.
Humility in a worship leader is of paramount importance. You can not fake humility,
or at least not for very long. Your body language will speak volumes to the congregation. If they see a worship leader and team who are totally yielded to and passionate about God, they will be more open to that leadership. Leading with a humble spirit but with authority is an important balance in effective leadership. People can usually tell when you’re just ‘going through the motions’ and when you are truly passionate about God.
The style of clothing that you wear is also relevant to the message that you are sending your congregation. The question to ask is ‘What fits best in this situation?’ and ‘What will be the least distracting from my main message of glorifying God?’ The key is to be relevant to the congregation that you are leading. Don’t let your clothes be a distraction for your ministry. My general rule of thumb is to do the dressy style of what that the general congregation comes to church in.
10. Learn to work well with your pastor
A church will only rise to the level of its pastor. If your Pastor is a worshipper, the church will soon follow. Developing a good working relationship and understanding between the worship leader and the pastor is extremely important. If they do not share the same vision, the vision will not get accomplished. They will always be pulling in different directions.
I have found it to be helpful to meet at least once a week with the Pastor to review the last Sunday’s services and to plan for the next week and weeks to come. It is also good to meet occasionally in informal situations (coffee, lunch, sports activities, etc.) to continue to develop a good relationship. The Senior Pastor and the Worship Leader are usually the most visible in public ministry. Their ability to compliment each other can be a powerful asset. If they do not work together well, then the opposite can be true.
There are a number of ways that a Pastor can facilitate worship in a church. One of them is by regularly teaching on it. The Bible is full of great passages on worship. If the Pastor is not comfortable teaching on the subject, there are a number of good books on the subject from which to gather resource material.
Another important way for a Pastor to facilitate worship is to model it. If the Pastor is a wholehearted worshipper, the congregation will take their cue from him. These days the Lead Pastor does not generally sit on the platform. But, I believe it is still important for them to be passionate worshippers wherever they sit in the congregation.
Worship leading is a great privilege and challenge. It is great to be able to point people to God through worship. Learn to grow in your singing, playing and leading. Learn to hear God’s Spirit as you lead. Be passionate in your love relationship with God and for the people in your worship team and congregation.
Question: What areas do you agree with or disagree with in this blog? What has helped you grow in your ability to lead worship?
For more on this subject check out: Ten Tests Of A Good Worship Leader
Check out my new book: “Leading Worship ~ Notes from a Grand Adventure’. It is now available in Kindle or Soft Cover Editions. This is a great gift for the musician or worshipper in your life.