1.) Preparation Is Key.
Not only is it crucial as a worship leader to know your songs front to back but it is even more important to make sure to prepare your heart for the task at hand. Staying spiritually hungry for God in the secret place is the only thing that will sustain you when you walk onto a stage to lead the Lord’s people into His presence. Something I always remind my team is that presence is so much more important than performance. Is it important to practice your instrument? Absolutely! But the key to honoring God once you step out onto a stage is to make sure that you have prepared your heart and your spirit in worship before you ever step foot on a platform.
2.) Stay Teachable.
I think this is such an important rule to live by whether you are leading people in worship, preaching, or even cleaning the toilets at your church. We have people on our worship team who are concert pianists. Very gifted and experienced musicians. I actually think it is better for your whole team to know that it is okay to except the fact that there will be people on your team who are better singers and musicians than you might ever be. It is our job to stay teachable and choose to learn from those around you who may have something new to teach you. We never graduate from learning.
3.) Build Bridges.
It is our job as worship leaders to build bridges. The two main bridges that we are called to build as worship leaders is the bridge between us and God and the bridge between us and the congregation. I see these bridges as lines of communication. Staying in constant communication with God midweek through devotions, prayer, and reading scripture will always set you up for a win once you step on that stage. Once you have established that bridge between you and God it is important to build the bridge between you and the congregation. Sometimes this looks like planning out your set list in a way that will accommodate every generation. Having a good mix between new and old songs is something to consider when planning your setlist. Keep in mind that it is not your job to please everyone but this can be a helpful tool to allow different generations to connect with God more easily. Another practical way to build a bridge with your congregation is to plan moments within your set to step away from the microphone and allow the church to sing a chorus or two. It gives them a sense of ownership as they worship and allows them a chance to take the lead.
4.) Lead Confidently.
Train wrecks are bound to happen at some point in time. Maybe you have a band member playing in the wrong key. Maybe your lead pastor gives you the signal to keep playing but you haven’t rehearsed for this spontaneous moment. Maybe you accidentally go into another chorus when the rest of the band is clearly playing through the bridge with huge question marks over their heads. The key to managing potential train wreck moments within your worship sets is to lead confidently. No matter the situation it is important that you are ready in and out of season for moments like this to make executive decisions when things don’t go according to plan. The reality is that even the professionals have their train wreck moments. These moments keep you humble and allow you an opportunity to grow in your leadership. Plus, they make for good stories to tell down the road.
5.) Be Yourself.
The best thing that you could ever do when leading people to the throne room of God is to be yourself. In today’s culture I sense this pressure among worship leaders to dress, sing, and act like other worship leaders. There seems to be a lot of comparison amongst worship leaders. God has designed you as a unique individual and He speaks to everyone differently. How freeing is it to know that when you bring your true self to the platform that God loves to use your uniqueness to bless those around you. You are beautifully and wonderfully made, so lead from that place.