5 Traits Of A Great Worship Leader

By WorshipSetIdeas.com ~ A great worship leader doesn’t just lead their congregation. They also lead their accompanying worship team—the band and the vocalists. And let’s face it, worship leadership is hard. Musicians can be moody and temperamental—including yourself!

We’ve put together these five essentials of worship leadership to help you develop as a worship leader. We’ll also list a few great worship leadership books so you can continue your reading into the topic.


So without further ado, here are the five essentials of worship leadership.

1. Loving Your Worship Team

When you are creating worship sets week in and week out, it’s easy to start seeing each week as a product. Consequently, you can start seeing your worship team as mere cogs in the wheel of worship. When you start seeing your team members as tools instead of people, you’ll lose all love for them.

1 Corinthians 13:1 seems to speak almost precisely to worship leaders on this: “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” Unless you’re a drummer, that resounding gong or clanging cymbal is a nightmare. But that’s what our worship leadership is without love. It’s an ugly thing.

Everything you do as a worship leader should stem from love of your team and love of the people you lead into worship.

2. Sacrifice

If you’re showing up to practice unprepared, how can you expect your worship team to show up prepared. And unfortunately, worship leadership requires more than just minimal preparation. It requires at least twice as much preparation as any other job on the team.

This means you need to sacrifice for your team. Think through every person’s contribution to the worship set weekly. Consider ways you can make their job easier. I guarantee this will take your worship leadership to the next level.

3. Worship Leadership = Vision Leadership

A vision is the thing that keeps your worship team all going in the same direction. If one of your guitarists wants to be a rock star, while a vocalist wants to be a broadway singer, while you want to be a humble monk…worship will be a mess.

Give your team a vision for what worship will be like at your church. And that’s more than just “singing to God”. What should your worship team look like? What should their motivations be? What should the congregation response look like?

Cast the vision for your worship team and continue to re-iterate as often as possible. Let your team know what you expect from them and hold them to the standards you set.

For more, read Shaping the Vision of Your Worship Service by Andy Chrisman from Church on the Move.

4. Consistency

You’ve set expectations for your worship team. You need to enforce them and enforce them consistently. If the rule for showing up late without a phone call means a worship team member won’t be on stage next Sunday, enforce the rule. Even if it hurts.

Think of your worship team in the long-term. Discipline and correction hurts in the short-term, but it is a beautiful thing in the long run. Worship leadership is about making the hard decisions in order to build a healthy team environment.

5. Continual Communion with God

Finally, and most importantly, you need to monitor your relationship with God. One of the easiest things to happen to a worship leader is that he or she substitutes their work for God for their relationship with God. We can’t afford to be God’s employees without first and foremost being His children. Our relationship must come first.

Worship leadership is nothing without worship and fellowship with the One we worship. Set aside time each day to commune with God. Grab a devotional. Read the Word. Pray. And if you feel your relationships slipping…let me encourage you to take a break from worship leadership. Put down the guitar and worship God from the seats.

Keep your fire burning brightly inside. It translates to your team and to your congregation. And ultimately, the only thing that matters is your relationship with God. When the music fades, and all is swept away…it’s all that’s left.

Those are our five essentials of worship leadership. What would you add to the list? We’d love to see your comments.

Also check out these books for more reading:

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
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One Response to 5 Traits Of A Great Worship Leader

  1. John Plumley says:

    Love the people you lead.
    Many of our greatest frustrations as a Worship Leader come from complaints, jabs, and digs from the very ones God has called us to serve. “The music is too loud, too quiet, I couldn’t hear this, I heard too much of that, we should just go back to using hymnals, etc.”
    It’s easy to become hard heart and of hearing. We tend to dismiss everyone as if they were unimportant. We need to learn to have valid honest conversations with folks. Remind them that God has called you to serve the entire community your Church is located in.
    Our job is to lead in such a way that serves everyone, from the first time guest to the spiritual pillars of our Church, in ways that help them connect with God. It’s impossible to please everyone so we strive towards helping the most people possible connect in some way. Here are some ways to help us love in how we answer instead of becoming hard of heart towards them.
    Too loud/Too quiet Our answer “Thank you so much for your input Mrs. Smith, we really do strive to have volumes set within scientifically studied levels, our goal is to have it in a range that engages our people to sing out to the Lord without being loud enough to damage anyone’s hearing. Do you see this sound pressure meter? It lets us know how loud or quiet our room is. We use this meter because it gives us a defined parameter so we know we are meeting our goals. I’ll be sure to check with our sound techs to make sure we are in that range.”

    Let’s just do Hymns “Mrs. Smith, I love the old hymns as well. I try to include them often in our worship of the Lord because of that. However, you know we are praying that God sends new people who are far away from God to our Church every week. We need to help them connect with the Lord as well. Now I know we don’t always sing them the way they used to be sang, but we try and do like Jesus told us too, “Bring Treasures both new and Old” when a guest comes to us. We always make sure that every song we sing points us all back to Christ.”

    “Our people perish for lack of vision.” We must lovingly communicate vision. Do not take offense, or even worse lie, or even worse than that, stray from the direction God has called us to go because people disagree.

    Help them see the vision. Speak the truth in Love. Loving the people you lead is definitely one of the 10 commandments for Worship Leaders.

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