Leading worship is one of the greatest joys in the lives of many of us. It is a gift and a privilege that comes with much responsibility and accountability. We are frail humans through whom the Holy Spirit moves to change the lives of many people through the amazing gift of music. How humbling that we can be vessels used by God to speak to the human heart. How humble we should be as leaders and we must pray to always remember that we are being entrusted with a high calling that should only point to the greatness of God and the love and mercy He has shown us through His son, Jesus Christ. We must not become encumbered in all of the negative talk about the church, style of music, why people don’t sing, etc. We need to spend time with Jesus asking Him to help us be shining lights of His true love and mercy that is for every single person on the planet.
There are many things that can enhance your ability to connect with your audience and I want to encourage you in a few of them today. These are written in a spirit of love and encouragement. No criticism or competition. Take them as they are intended. We have been leading worship for a very long time and have come through many styles of music, from hymns to inspo to rock, from choirs to praise teams to rock worship, from unpugged to full on band. You get the picture. It all works if the focus is to bring glory to God and to make Him famous in the world.
I’m going to talk about a few things in the order of importance as I see it. I would love to hear all that you guys have to say as well. It is fun to learn from one another and to be encouraged and to encourage. You will be reaching people that I will never touch, but if I can help you become better at your craft, then I get the joy of being a tiny little part of what you do. That is exciting to me!
1. The most important part of your ministry is your relationship with God. He must have first place in your life. Spend time with Him and ask Him to give you a soft and humble heart. Every morning I ask Him to help me to know Him, to love Him, and to make Him famous in the world. To know Him I must spend time in His word and in prayer. That can’t help but change my heart! To love Him, I must show love to others and consider them more important than myself. That can’t help but make my relationships better! To make Him famous in the world means that everything I do is for His glory and not my own. That is a big one, but when you think about it, it gives total freedom and takes the pressure off! Everything I do is to make Him famous! That tempers everything thatI say or do. Think it through. It’s great one and really is completely freeing!
2. The second in importance is your relationship with your family. If you are married, this means your spouse. Your husband or your wife has to know that they come before anything or anyone in your life other than God. Your marriage is to be a picture of Christ and the church and an example of selfless and unconditional love. Your music ministry comes way below this. If you have children, they come just after your spouse and must never suffer because of your ministry, but be included and taught that they are a part of your ministry. They too must know that they come way before your music. Way before it. Love your family. LOVE YOUR FAMILY.
3. The third in importance (which kind of has to happen for the first two anyway) is to treat others with kindness and to always be the same person off the stage as you are on the stage. In other words, live in a way that exemplifies and glorifies Christ wherever you go. Even if no one is watching you. Even if you think no one is watching you. You live in a glass house and you need to take that seriously and on purpose be kind and bear fruit in every situation. None of us are perfect, but we can all tame our tongues and ask God to give us wisdom and grace and to fill us with His kindness and compassion.
4. Practice and improve your skills. The Bible calls us to be excellent, so strive for excellence. Be skilled on your instrument. Become better at singing.
5. Practice well during the week so that when it comes time to lead worship you are technically ready. You don’t want to be distracted by unpreparedness. Work hard during the week so that you can be free to connect with and lead the people who have gathered to worship God. Do the best you can with what you have to limit distractions coming from the platform. More about this in the next post:)
6. Be the same person on the platform that you are everywhere else. Let your light shine as you welcome the people to worship with you. Encourage them to sing. More on this also in the next post.
7. Sing from your heart and not your head. Connect to the words and let them flow from your heart. You have put in your time preparing so that you don’t have to worry about hitting the notes, etc., because they are memorized and easy. Be real and inviting. Put the songs in a key that the average person can easily sing and simplify the melody so that anyone can sing. If the songs are singable for the average person and you invite and encourage them to sing, they will sing!
8. Remember that you are not there to impress, but you are there to lead and encourage others to engage in corporate worship. Your job is to be musically prepared so that you can be free to notice, encourage, engage, and be real. It’s all about God and His amazing grace.
I will be writing more on this subject. I would love to learn from you as well! I love you and pray for you!