How To Become A Worship Leader That Is Easy To Follow

David Santistevan —  September 16, 2013 — 5 Comments

The greatest skill a worship leader can develop isn’t simply musical.

It’s not about wild & crazy vocal or instrumental talent. It’s about being easy to follow.

It’s not about artist and audience. It’s family time – the people of God gathering together around the glory and love of the Father.

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I was visiting another church recently, worshiping in the congregation as their team led worship. But I found myself watching, enjoying, and being distracted more than worshiping.

Please don’t mistake me. I’m not one of those guys who say you shouldn’t enjoy worship – that it should just be a rote exercise, void of anything that could distract someone. I’m also not saying engagement has nothing to do with the congregation.

What I’m talking about is a type of leadership that welcomes others in. Leadership that makes people feel comfortable enough to let go. Leadership that earns trust.

It’s true – some people are just not ready to worship. No matter how skilled you become as a leader, they’re still going to watch. I’m not talking about those people. It’s important to engage them, but that’s for another post.

I’m not talking about releasing the worshipers to worship. Creating environments where relentless attention can be placed upon Jesus.

5 Questions Every Worship Leader Should Ask

So allow me to ask you a question: Is your worship leading easy to follow? Consider today’s post a checklist – a way to evaluate your leading to make sure you’re having the highest impact.

1. Do you know who’s in the room? – The most important facet of your worship leading is knowing who you’re leading. That makes a big difference on your type of music, volume level, and song choice. Corporate worship isn’t what scratches your creative itch or satisfies your musicality. It’s what engages the people of God. Study who is in the room – Old? Young? Multi-Generational? New Believers? Recovering Addicts? Children? Make your plans based on who is in the room.

2. Does your set have a sense of flow? – Your worship plan should be crafted to take people on a journey. It’s not like a studio album of songs where you go from track to track. You should be telling a story. See yourself as a tour guide – taking people’s hand and turning their attention to the majesty of God. Lead them to behold and teach them how to engage. Think through your transitions.

3. Is your music easy on the ears? – When you make your plans, you need to consider how the energy of the music will physically affect people. If all of your songs go from one slamming pop-rock anthem to another, it gets to be overwhelming on the ears. Create moments in your worship set (and even within songs) where the energy can soften and where you can really hear people sing out. When people hear a full room singing they’re inspired to sing louder, to pursue God harder.

4. Do you invite people in? – Singing through songs isn’t enough. You need to speak out and invite people into the experience. I often do this through short challenges and giving occasional vocal cues within songs. You don’t want to leave people wondering what’s going on or where you’re going. I’ll say things like:

  • “All right, church, here we go”
  • “With one voice, with one heart, let’s raise our voices higher.”
  • “Let’s sing that again”
  • “People of God, rise up. Let’s declare it.”
  • “Come on church, let’s declare this chorus with all our hearts.”

Sometimes I’ll even have the band play through a chord progression while I read a Scripture and encourage people to worship. It’s intentional thinking like this that make your worship leading more human and connect-able. People don’t want sung to. They want invited in.

5. Do you worship? – This may sound silly to include, but I’m not sure the majority of worship leaders actually worship. We’re too consumed with our music or our leadership to remember. But nothing awakens the worship in others more than an on-fire heart. Bring that front and center. Your music may suffer on occasion. But always come ready to pursue Jesus. If you don’t love Jesus you have no business leading worship. You can’t lead people where you’re not willing to go yourself.

Some of this may sound scary. You may feel incapable. But there’s no greater area of growth than becoming a more engaging worship leader. You will decrease, God’s glory will increase, and the people of God will be wrapped up in His praises more than your performing.

You can do this.

Question: What struggles are you facing when it comes to engaging your church in worship? What has worked well for you? Share your thoughts and encourage others in the comments. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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5 responses to How To Become A Worship Leader That Is Easy To Follow

  1. Thanks for this post. I’ve been struggling lately with the aspect of who my audience is. Multi-generational church, history of a split over music 10-15 years ago. My “brand” of praise and worship has been embraced by some and upset others, and it’s been my challenge to try and minister to all without alienating. We serve an Awesome God for sure.

  2. I appreciate your posts and reponses. I started leading about three months ago at a church with ages from 0-90 lol. We are very diverse and in age and do mixed worship. The greatest leasons I have learned is to be transparent, pray hard, pursue God and see our congregation as family. Im blessed they have embraced me even with my inexperience and faults. Sucess has nothing to do with the most perfectly planned songs, moments, or sets. We have had services where everything went wrong but God showed up and reminded us whats important. Do we plan to put on a show or prepare for an encounter with God? There will always be better musicians and singers but my goal is to be known for my heart and every week I lay it out akward or not and pursue God. I dont know how many times I’ve messed up a transition, intro, or stumbled through an akward moment but my church trusts me enough to go with me.We are blessed and I love to see my brothers and sisters worship with all they have and intercede for each other. God is good and Im thankful for other leaders who are willing to share and encourage others to be better. Thanks David.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. 13 Reasons Why We Sing In Worship | David Santistevan - September 28, 2013

    […] like this. And I want to tell you that this is OK. Sure, we need to improve our skill of being an engaging leader and being strategic in our song […]

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