Four ways to grow as a worship leader
Shout, sing, and dance
When you’re on stage—and smiling, you’re teaching others that it’s okay for them to do the same. There’s nothing more powerful that seeing a worship pastor sing joyfully about the Lord. Showing your congregation or audience that you’re in love with a mighty God is important. One of our favorite motifs within scripture is the idea of dancing and singing to the Lord. David was a broken and troubled man, but he was a man after the Lord’s own heart, a man who “prais[ed] His name with dancing.”
“Let them praise His name with dancing; Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre. For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.” Psalm 149:3-4
If there are moments that bring you happiness within a song, show it. If you’re moved by the raw, emotional power of a song, show that too. Expression—and excitement—in worship is for every Christian. A smile can change the way we respond to worship, and in turn, changes the way our songs on stage are received by the world.
REMIND YOURSELF WHY YOU ARE THERE
You’re on stage for a reason. You aren’t there (at least I hope not) to just make a name for yourself. On stage, as we sing and perform and praise the Lord, we have to constantly remind ourselves and each other the real reason why we’re there in front of a crowd. And we’re commanded to sing by the Lord.
“Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.” Psalm 96:1–2
We don’t do it for the money. We don’t do it for the fame, or the glory, or the Instagram followers. We sing to fight for others to be filled with the Spirit. We sing because the people next to us are dealing with real, huge life issues that are overwhelming and hard—and they might just need a reminder that the Lord is with them. We sing because the Lord wants us to. We sing because we love God.
NOTHING BUT THE BEST
Excellence is less of a disposition than it’s actually a direction. You can’t just achieve excellence or greatness. It’s a continual striving to be better, to forge ahead to the next level of quality. Working towards continuous improvement, there’s always a target in mind: to be better than you were. And it’s been a command throughout the Bible for thousands of years: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart.” Colossians 3:24-25
Maybe that means that you need an extra band practice on Friday morning, rather than that Sunday. It’s not always the easiest—that’s for sure. But that’s not the point, is it? Riiiiiiight? It’s the way that focuses on the Lord more than anything, and we think that’s the way to go. Plus, the Lord is really a gracious God who sees process towards excellence as pleasing to him. It’s our endeavor towards excellence that remains about Him—rather than us—so our work to be Godly can remain an ongoing, faithful process.
UNDERSTAND YOUR RESPONSIBILITY
“Worship changes the worshiper into the image of the One worshiped.” Jack Hayford
There’s so much more to being a worship leader than singing songs. And while that might seem like a really easy distinction, it’s important to note how influential you can be while standing on stage. Worship leaders, with your extraordinary role of leading your congregations in worship, you also will experience the very heavy burden of responsibility. Even Jesus and his disciples sang hymns in worship:
“And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.” Matthew 26:30
You *are* in a role of grand stakes, where your action or inaction could lead to the salvation of a friend. Whether you not it or not, you are pastoring. You’re offering words to the people of God to use to worship the Lord.