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Do You Talk Too Much?

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From Gordon Moore, serving in Spain

QUESTION:Talk Much?

“Do you talk much when leading worship services? Some worship leaders say almost nothing while others talk as much as some preachers. How do you handle that?”

RICK MUCHOW:

Every church has a distinct personality. Just like families, there are similarities between churches, but each church is uniquely individual. Your church’s individuality will depend on your size, the purpose or strategy of your service, your church culture and leadership. The most important of these variables is your Pastor’s philosophy of ministry.

You might think that the most important variable is the Holy Spirit’s leading, and that is absolutely the case. I believe that my role as a worship leader is to serve my Pastor’s philosophy of ministry The Spirit of God leads him, and in that context leads me as well. I’ve said this many times and it continues to be true: my ministry on the platform at Saddleback is more a reflection of my Pastor’s ministry philosophy than of my personality and worship style preference.

When I lead the weekend services at Saddleback, I am free to speak whenever I want and for as long as I want, though obviously we have a service schedule and timeline. If I feel led, I am free to speak. My Pastor also feels the freedom to ask me to talk less when he feels I am talking too much. We work together to balance each service.

There’s an old axiom that I have found useful: Let the singers sing and the speakers speak. For many of us, that’s more about not wanting the speakers to start singing! God has given us all unique gifts to serve Him. We should allow others to use their gifts and we should use ours.

I believe that when I lead worship, the process speaks for me through the way I lead the songs, the songs I’ve selected, the words of encouragement… All of these help me to quickly connect the congregation to the presence of God, and then to fade into the background. I’ve found that short and clear words of encouragement are generally enough for me, though at times I also feel led to and do say more. The Holy Spirit leads on the platform and He can be spontaneous. He also leads just as much during the planning of the service. Chris Tomlin studies his order of service for 2 hours, visualizing how each song leads the congregation closer to the Lord. That is a great example of how the Holy Spirit can be involved just as much as through a spontaneous commentary or encouragement.

My planned speaking at Saddleback generally consists of a friendly welcome, encouragement to participate in the singing, direction to sit and stand, congregational prayer, and when necessary, crowd control such as the Saddleback Shuffle to make room for people coming in. Very rarely will I use speaking to introduce a song. A good song explains itself. A note about encouragement… it’s easy to overdo encouragement. We don’t have to kick the hive to get the honey out.

In the end, people generally don’t remember sermons and information for all that long. People remember sermons best when they are seen or sung. They can remember songs and the truth found in the lyrics for a lifetime. Choose your songs wisely, present them well and you will have more impact on your congregation than you could ever have by speaking.

(Rick Muchow’s articles appear on gotworship.net courtesy of www.encouragingmusic.com If you would like to ask Rick or our editorial staff a question and have it answered here, please send us an email at answerbag@gotworship.net or use the form below to easily send your question to us.)

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