4 lessons I learned as a novice worship leader

I know that most of you reading this blog are not called by God to become worship leaders. I am not a worship leader myself and besides this blog is more about the preaching ministry. However there are occasions that we are asked to fill in for some one else. I have done that a couple of times and in the beginning I felt very inadequate. As time passed by however I gradually improved myself and learned some spiritual and intellectual principles that helped me a lot. In this blog post I am going to share just 3 of them with you. I hope amateur worship leaders as well as the seasoned ones will find these principals helpful if not inspiring.

1.  Intimacy with God

King David is a good role model for every Christian out there aspiring to be a good worship leader. He was the author of Psalms and when reading those Psalms we have no doubt that he must have been a great worship leader. However we cannot forget that David was a worshipper himself before he became a worship leader. He had an intimate relationship with God. You might wonder how you can have an intimate relationship with God. Before answering that question let me explain what intimacy is not.

Intimacy has nothing to do with sex as the world puts it. It’s biblical not sexual. It’s not super spirituality either. According to Genesis 3:8 you need 2 things to have an intimate relationship with God.

A. A disciplined prayer life

B. Have nothing to hide from God

I am sure every worship leader have a relationship with God through means of a disciplined prayer life. But it’s the fact that you have nothing to hide from God makes your relationship with him intimate. Of course we can’t hide anything from God. Yet sinning against him in the morning and kneeling before him in the evening like nothing happened doesn’t help your relationship with God.

No body is perfect and worship leaders are the same. They too are fallen human beings saved by the grace of God. The only workaround this problem is to come before God every day with a heart of repentance and confession. The more we open ourselves before God more intimate our relationship with him becomes. The more intimate we become with God more people will experience the glory of God when we lead them in public worship.

2. Physical appearance

Your attire is very important. The wrong type of attire will drive people’s attention to you instead of God which in turn makes your effort unsuccessful. Therefore you need to choose between formal ware, casual ware and smartly casual depending on the culture, sub culture of the congregation, type of occasion and time of the day.

I always choose formal attire when leading worship in a Sunday morning (occasion). If it’s a memorial service conducted in evening hours I choose smartly casual (time of the day) and causal for events involving young people (sub culture).

Also maintain modesty. It is recommended that female worship leaders avoid make up as much as possible. The idea is to not to make celebrity or a clown out of yourself so that people can concentrate on their creator.

3. Connect with others

Eight years ago I worked as the media guy for a leading Bible college where they have chapel services 5 days a week. Worship leading at these service was a part of every student’s training and whoever leads worship tomorrow was required to rehearse the whole session in the evening before. They rehearsed every evening very faithfully and we had a wonderful worship service the morning after.

There was one problem however. They hardly coordinated with me. For example one of the worship leaders would introduce a new song during the service and I was clueless about this new song. In their mind they thought the worship team consisted only of the choir, the musicians and sometimes the sound controller.

This is wrong. A good worship leader connects with all the different departments in the church as necessary. If there’s a prayer team that intercedes during the worship service you can ask the prayer team leader to lay his hands on you and pray for anointing. Have regular conversation with the media team to find out if there’s anything you can do as a worship leader to make their task easier.

The point is you need to treat any individual that contributes to worship service as a part of your team.

4. Sacrificial attitude

Recently a worship leader asked me to excuse her from rehearsals and prayer time for good saying she is too busy. I wanted her to experience the consequences of such a cheap approach to worship leading so I granted her wish instead of asking her step down. I am sure she will realize her mistake and return to rehearsals and prayer time very soon.

People who aspire to be used by God in the area of worship ministry must be willing to  pay the price. Like any other ministry worship leading also is a ministry task that involves a higher degree of self sacrifice. You can’t ignore your 50% of the work and expect the Holy Spirit to move the moment you stand before the congregation. This 50% of the work includes praying as a team, rehearsing and planning. You need to invest your time and labor. God is always faithful to finish his half of the task. But you will never get to your destination with a job that is half done.