We’ve all been there.
Sunday is almost here and we’re not quite sure what to sing. What do we do? Throw it together.
When in doubt, just find some killer songs and sing them, right?
But what about being present? If you think about it, every service is unique. Never again will that exact group of people gather together at that exact place at that exact time.
It’s about presence – being present.
You see, worship leading isn’t about templates. It’s not a “let’s see what other churches are doing” and simply copy it. It’s not a matter of finding the perfect worship set that gets hands in the air every time.
As a worship leader, you are pastoring people. And in order to pastor people, you need to be present.
But doing this is another story. You have your “go-to” songs. You have your worship phrases you say all the time.
What does it really take to be sensitive to your people – to move beyond songlist execution to the real thing? Because I am desperate for the real thing. I am hungry for the congregations I lead to experience God.
Relationship Over Entertainment
Think about your average church-goer. They didn’t wake up Sunday morning wondering what your songlist is. They weren’t kept awake all night in anticipation of your guitar solos.
Their lives may be filled with disappointment, pain, crushed expectations, and chaos. They may be rejoicing that life is good.
Whatever the case, you are not serving your church well if you simply are trying to impress them with music. It’s about relationship not entertainment.
Rather than thinking, “What songs will my church enjoy?” – think – “What truth do my friends need to declare in this season?”
3 Tips For Improving Your “In the Moment” Presence as a Worship Leader
How does one develop this skill of being present in every worship service?
1. Be in Relationship With People – This is what it’s all about. In order to truly be present in your congregation, you have to know them. Of course, you can’t know everyone intimately, but you can know your team members. You can know some. Sharing in their joy, struggles, and pain will give you empathy as a worship leader and cause you to lead with greater sensitivity.
Learn the skill of being a friend. Invest in relationships. It will help you lead better.
2. Internalize Scripture – There’s no quick fix for this. There’s no “5 Steps to Memorizing the Bible in 1 Week or Less” blog post I can write. But the truth is – the more you get Scripture in you, the more your presence as a worship leader will improve. You will naturally lead people to truth and not simply emotional singing experiences. Here’s a quick tip for trying this today:
- Choose a systematic reading of the Bible (I use the One Year Bible on Kindle)
- Pick out a verse you like today
- Write it down (preferably, with a physical writing utensil. Extra credit: a quill pen)
- Say it out loud 10 times
- Set a timer on your phone for every hour and continue to quote it throughout the day
Creating a new habit is best formed with a simple step, repeated over and over. Try this for 3 days and see how your mindfulness of Scripture increases.
Practicing this is more important to your worship leading than learning the latest Chris Tomlin song.
3. Learn to Enjoy God – I know a lot of musicians who love music, but don’t seem to really enjoy being with God. Your worship leading will never go to the next level without fostering a love for God’s presence.
If God took your guitar away, would you still worship? If Matt Redman never wrote your favorite song, would you still have something to say? The best way grow in your love for God is to simply get in His presence.
Share your heart with Him. Listen. Sing. The best worship leaders love to soak and dwell in the presence of God. They know that’s what they were created for.
I want to know how you love and serve your people as a worship leader.
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