YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A ROCK STAR TO BE A GREAT WORSHIP LEADER!
I’ve had the privilege of leading my peers into worship for over 15 years. I truly enjoy the art behind composing music, creating lyrics, coaching talented musicians/singers, and constructing a worship experience for people. I vividly remember the first time I had to lead worship. It was an accident!
I was asked to play acoustic guitar for someone that was going to lead worship at a church. At the last minute, the worship leader could not make it, and all eyes turned towards me. I was a bit in shock – I was about 17 years old. I stepped up to the microphone, took a deep breath… and, well, the rest is history.
I came home that evening and told my parents what had happened. My Mom gave me one piece of advice that has never left me “Son, just play and sing like you always do in your room – except the only difference now is that someone put a microphone in front of you!” We laughed, but those simple words still ring true today.
The role of the worship leader has morphed into something different over the past decade. You don’t have to be a rock star to be a great worship leader! What happened to authentic, simple, thoughtful, and obedient? Here are 5 tips that I want to add to my Mom’s advice for any worship leader:
Tip #1: Never Lose Your Wonder.
You must have an accurate view of God. Don’t forget how awesome and holy God is. If you are jaded, calloused, or confused, then consider what will be deposited into the people that you lead into worship. You can only take people where you have gone yourself in worship. Consider how He is your Wonderful Counselor, your Mighty God, your Everlasting Father, and your Prince of Peace. These names are more than mere titles – they are accurate descriptions!
Read Isaiah 9:6. Lead worship in awe of Him.
Tip #2: Humility is Important.
You must have an accurate view of yourself. Humility is how God sees you. Do not become a puffed up version of yourself, and do not become a degraded version of yourself. Putting yourself down, or not accepting compliments, does not make you humble — it makes you annoying. Say THANK YOU when people say they enjoyed the worship time. Then during your quiet times, give God the credit for using you in this way! Stay plugged into God. Be comfortable being you before God and others.
Read Luke 7:36-50. Lead worship like a servant.
Tip #3: Obedience is Better…
You must have an accurate view of God’s principles. Obedience is better than sacrifice. What does God say about worship? What does God desire? Learn to become a student and practitioner of God’s Word. Your personal time in God’s Word will pay dividends during your worship times. There are consequences when you do not lead according to God’s principles. You produce death, not life, when you presume that you know what to do. Worship becomes empty and self-centered. Be obedient by loving God’s Word.
Read 2 Samuel 6. Lead worship with careful obedience.
Tip #4: Live it Out!
You must have an accurate view of God’s plan for your life. Worship is much more than what you do during a worship session at church or at a conference. It is your lifestyle. I should be able to take a snapshot of any moment in your life and be able to see worship that produces life in others. Do you trust God with your life? If not, then you may be harboring subtle idolatry in your heart. A worship leader cannot serve both God and something else! Your life and your worship must be congruent.
Read Luke 18:18-30. Lead worship like you lead your life.
Tip #5: Master Your Craft.
You must have an accurate view of your gifts. Do not try to be someone that you are not. However, take what has been given to you and sharpen it, utilize it, and present it before God as your offering. Excellence in worship is not for the audience, but it is for God that gave you those talents. You offer it back to Him with excellence. Let your talents (i.e. singing, musicianship, hospitality, poetry, dance, media, etc.) become an on-ramp for others! Let your light shine brightly for others such that it will make God famous.
Read Luke 19:11-27. Lead worship by investing in your talents.
Anyone that has partnered with me in worship will tell you that I take leading worship very seriously. Consider the power that is unleashed when you come before God with everything that you have. I believe that depression will be lifted, brokenness will be repaired, bitterness will melt, and diseases will be cured in the presence of an awesome God. As a worship leader, you must believe this too… not just for you, but also for the people that you lead.
Next time you take the stage, walk on campus, go to work, or sit in your room – speak these words:
- I am in awe of You, God.
- I know that I am Yours.
- I long to obey You fully.
- I trust You with my life’s trajectory.
- I give my talents back to You with excellence.
Let worship arise among all people in all places! One day it will! Until then, love the people that you lead, and keep changing the world with a lifestyle of worship. Bring worship unto God that brings life, not death. Start today!
Bonus for my readers!