4 Skills That Separate Great Worship Leaders From Good Song Leaders


Leading worship can be overwhelming sometimes, right?

Not only do you have to worship God with all your heart, you have to lead a band, play an instrument, sing, engage a room, please your leaders, and be theologically sound. There’s a lot to juggle.

Of course, worship isn’t about music, singing, stage presence, personality, but it doing it well does include all of these. My goal with this article is to break down 4 essential skills that every worship leader needs to focus on.

This was part of a workshop I recently organized to equip my worship leaders. I also shared it with my newsletter and received such positive feedback.

So here it is: 4 skills that separate great worship leaders from good song leaders.

good to great

1. The Song

A worship leader needs to be familiar not just with the structure of a song, knowing the verse, chorus, & bridge, but needs to internalize the message.

When you internalize the message, you tend to deliver it with more immediacy and intensity. Some worship leaders are not believable in how they sing. There’s no ache, no desperation.

Know the lyric in your mind, believe it with your heart, and deliver it with your soul.

Hesitancy comes from being self-conscious and nervous. We are worrying what people are thinking so we don’t risk vulnerability. Your vulnerability will help others discover their own.

I like to encourage worship leaders to not be self-confident but God confident – secure in the fact that God is moving and He has appointed you to lead.

Don’t just sing songs. Live them.

2. The Segue 

You may be prepared with your songs, but are you prepared with your transitions? This needs to be thought through.

The most powerful worship times happen in between songs. It’s a time where people can be free to really express their worship in that moment.

How will you connect your songs? Will they flow right into each other? Will you say something? What instruments will be playing. How will you change keys?

Also get comfortable with using medleys for flow moments.

3. The Soul

Are you connecting with the people in the room? We’ve all been in worship environments where we just don’t connect with the leader. They are doing their thing and we’re watching it happen.

As a leader the most important skill you can develop is building trust with the room. If people trust you, they will follow you. If they don’t, well, they’ll watch you do your thing.

The best way to connect is to say something – to relationally connect with the room.

Here’s how I encourage worship leaders in their speaking:

  • Empathize with them – be real, down to earth, understand them, make a connection.
  • Engage them with Scripture – connect their circumstance to God’s truth.
  • Help them Express their worship – lead them in an action step: singing a song, raising hands, kneeling, declaring, etc.

The goal of corporate worship isn’t for a group of people to agree with songs. It’s for them to declare God’s promise, goodness, and glory over their lives.

4. The Silence

Great worship leaders don’t just know songs. They know God.

They know what to do with silence. They are comfortable with spontaneous moments because they practice those moments.

Learn how to lead people in worship beyond songs. Become a worship leader who genuinely pursues God. Knowing songs and music is a necessary skill, but not at the expense of knowing God’s voice, how He works, what He’s doing, who He is.

Worship Leader, what would you add to this list?

How are you doing a better job connecting to God and connecting to people?

The original post is here.


About Mark Cole

Jesus follower, Husband, Father, Worship Leader, Writer, Pastor, Church Consultant, Founding Arranger for Praisecharts.com, squash & tennis player, blogger & outdoor enthusiast.. (biking, hiking, skiing). Twitter: @MarkMCole Facebook: mmcole
This entry was posted in Church, God, Leadership, Music, Worship and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *