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.
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.
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: