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Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I Began Leading Worship


The first time – even the first year of leading worship – can seem scary. Things are a bit different from being asked to sing just a focus song or two…now, the fate of the entire worship service is in your hands, right? No pressure. Yep, we have all been there – and can all share our stories. I want to lay out five main areas that I feel every new worship leader should concentrate on to be as fruitful in their time of servitude as worship leader as possible.

1. Above all – spend your own time in worship to God.

Worship leaders – even veterans – miss this one all the time. If you do not currently have a set-aside time for worship to God that involves just you and God and no one else then don’t consider leading others in worship. I have found in my years of leading that this is the single-most essential thing that I do with worship…is worshiping God privately before I worship God corporate. Get alone in a room armed with nothing but your Bible (a physical one…no need to get distracted by notifications that you’re up next for a move on Words With Friends.), your common instrument to lead from, and you. Spend time in prayer…not just a quick prayer – a deep prayer. THANK God for the richness of your day. Ask Him to show you something about worship in your time that you weren’t aware of before. Then, spend some time in the Word. Find a scripture and meditate on it. Perhaps it is one that you heard earlier in the day and you need to go back and dwell on it a little. Perhaps it is simply opening the Bible and reading a random verse that was greeted by the breath of God in a not-so-random fashion. However you chose to do so….READ! Finally, spend some time offering songs to God. Don’t simply rehearse songs you want to do this weekend. Sing songs to Him – linger on each word knowing that they are a song of praise to Him. This is your quality time with God…make it quality!

2. Never ever ever put focus on being a performer.

I’m going to rub a few people wrong with this statement. Notice I did not say “You are NOT a performer!” You are. Let’s not get bent out of shape about it. Your pastor is a performer as well. Ever heard your pastor tell a joke or funny story in his sermon? Yep…he is performing. He knows that he needs to engage those emotions in order to keep his listener engaged. It doesn’t diminish his heart or the message. Now, if he delivered an invitation and riddled a story of the sacrifice on the cross with one-liners and jokes…we’d have a much different argument, right? Alas, your pastor likely doesn’t. Why? Because he doesn’t need to focus on that “performance” at such a crucial time. He knows when that “performance” factor is needed…and when it isn’t. He doesn’t put focus on being a performer. Neither should we. Don’t try to work against the Holy Spirit. I’ve seen plenty worship leaders who have moments of honesty in worship where the Spirit is just leading a congregation into a stir, the worship leader senses it, then the worship leader hopes to “make it even better” and starts a mini-sermon. Know that, as a worship leader, we are there to remove distractions and direct worship to God. No one becomes saved because we “sang really good” or because our song arrangements were awesome or because we urged our congregation to clap in every song. The Holy Spirit can use those things to work on the hearts of many…and a good worship leader always knows when to fade into the background and LET GOD MOVE.

3. Don’t over-analyze everything.

Yes, you are new – and no you will not be perfect. The sooner you can come to that conclusion the more time you can spend on other areas of your ministry instead of obsessing over the small things. I believe firmly in an evaluation meeting each week with worship leader and pastor to see what went wrong but also to champion what went right. Glaring issues there can and will be discussed. The fact that you were a little off pitch coming into the third verse, I can assure you, will not be. I’ve seen many young worship leaders worry about the smallest of details that no one else even noticed. Don’t sweat it…seriously.

[tweet_box]You’re not perfect. The sooner you come to that conclusion the more time you’ll spend on other areas of your ministry instead of obsessing over small things.[/tweet_box]

4. Be continuously in awe.

Stand continuously amazed in the presence of God. Don’t lose a moment’s thought of “I can’t believe God allows me to serve Him!” Wake up each morning amazed by the fact that God gave you breath in two lungs that you didnt deserve…then exhale…and make a difference for His kingdom with each breath.

Above all, thanks for obeying a calling to join the Levites of God’s Kingdom to lead in worship of His Amazing name!

Ah…yes…I did say “five main areas…” right? So where’s the 5th one? Worship Leaders – it’s time for you to tell your secrets. What advice would YOU give to a new or first time worship leader? Chime in using the comments area below!

16 thoughts on “Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I Began Leading Worship”

  1. Jason Oon says:

    Great article Jason! I’d say for me, #5 would be to WORSHIP while you worship lead! There’s no better way to lead worship than to lead by example!

    1. (Jason W.) says:

      Good point! It’s often too easy to be concerned while we are in the middle of service with everything that is going on that we forget to worship God ourselves. Thats NOT to say that we don’t need to focus on getting things right so that distractions are limited….just means that we need to keep things in proper priority.

      1. Annalee Reid says:

        I agree totally!! and also, every member in the team need to know that prayer before organization, will help you to focus on thw worship, rather than the practice. of course, prioroty is very important, but it is easy to focus on the practicalities, and forget thaGod is in control.

        1. Annalee Reid says:

          also, the whole worship team needs to agree with what you do as leader, is co-operative and is prepared and willing to work with you.

  2. Rachel Mae Lagunero says:

    For me #5 is to never be conscious while leading worship because it can distract you from worshiping God when you’re thinking too much about it.

    The article is really helpful!

    1. (Jason W.) says:

      Good point, Rachel. We talked a bit about that in this morning’s article here:

    2. Annalee Reid says:

      also, the idea is that you must not be too over-eager to impress others, because it can be a put off to outsiders who come into the church for the first time.

  3. Annalee Reid says:

    pray, and make sure you are serving him yourself

    1. (Jason W.) says:

      ahhhh……serving. “but aren’t we serving on stage?” We often forget to find ways to serve outside of the worship team. Praying is all-too-often overlooked. Great points, Annalee!

      1. Annalee Reid says:

        can i ask you if you have any ideas as to how to keep youngsters in the church and not be a separate part of the congregation in church life? do yu have any tips? also, in regard to worship, we must not feel we have to be bossy or feel we are in charge or behave as if others must do what you say. we must have an attitude of self sacrifice and self-giving. along with faith in our team members and nor exasperating them

        1. (Jason W.) says:

          Annalee, certainly…invite them to be involved…bridge the gap between generations…

          If no one believed in me when I was a youth I may not have become a pastor years later. This Sunday I will be joined by a bright young man on stage to lead worship. He’s doing so because I asked. I’d love to think that it could make a difference in his path in ministry later on. Thankfully…his parents are AWESOME and he has an amazing upbringing. I just want to give him a push. Do the same with some youth there that need a bit of encouragement and watch what happens. 😉

          1. Annalee Reid says:

            what if some youngsters were not brought up in that atmosphere? and had not had any encouragement in the family home to be involved in church life? and peer pressures of the outside world? how then can you encourage them to take an active role in church life and do practical things?

          2. (Jason W.) says:

            Annalee, let me take a step back and not read too much into your question. Were you originally talking about worship or just having them involved in church? Sorry if i misunderstood.

          3. Annalee Reid says:

            Sorry, i did not make it clear. what i meant was involvement and being encouraged to worship in a church setting.

  4. Sal says:

    Don’t rate the Worship time based on how the congregation reacted. I have seen Worship services be awesome but the congregation didn’t “react” the way you thought they should. But more times then not you will hear that different people felt the presence of God in a mighty way and were really touched during worship. That’s why you spend time with God in worship for 7 days a week and you will never be disappointing. And ask God to help you see what HE SEE’s which is in the Spirit realm.

  5. Kim Vasquez says:

    For me it’s was submitted to my Pastors song selection. As a worship leader our song selections can be very different then what are Senior Pastors want. Worship Leaders learn to submit to your Pastors requests, your anointing will flow through any song God desires. Once I released that area to God I began to see God move in my worship leading.

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