The Worship Leader
First, it's important to understand what the worship leader is actually meant to do. There are three important functions of a worship leader:
- To lead people into worship so that the Holy Spirit can lead them into the presence of God.
- To co-ordinate the musicians, singers and the congregation, as they worship God.
- To act as the delegated authority of the pastor in the above duties.
Leading worship is really a very important skill. If the worship is great, it has an enormous impact on the entire service. People connect with God, they are uplifted, their hearts are prepared to receive the Word, and unchurched visitors open up to the Lord. If the worship isn't so good, it can be a great distraction and reduce the overall effectiveness of the entire service.
So let's look at some things that every worship leader should keep in mind. These are all based on observations I've made over the years, so keep in mind that if you're thinking, "Hey, that's pretty obvious!" iit's not necessarily obvious to everyone.
Select a good list
The songs you select to sing can have a great impact on the success of the worship time. But don't agonise over song selection as if there is only one particular song that could be used for one particular moment. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was on my wedding day. The preacher who married us said, "Be spiritually natural, and naturally spiritual." This is advice that's worth listening to.
Worship leaders sometimes tie themselves up in knots over song selection. I realise that they are being sincere in their desire to include the Holy Spirit in the whole process, but we need to remember that "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2 Cor 3:17) God gives us tremendous liberty when the Holy Spirit is involved. He doesn't bind us up in a straightjacket!
Choose the songs you really like. Choose them according to the guidelines you've been given by whomever is the designated authority over you - how many songs, what type of songs, how long the worship should last, etc.
Prepare a run sheet for your team. The run sheet should include the list of all your songs (in order!), their keys, and who's doing what and when (as in what comes after what) for the entire service. All of this should easily be able to fit on one page. Using a run sheet, and giving a copy to everyone in the team, means that everyone knows what's happening and when it's happening and who's making it happen.
Obviously, this means that your song list (your set) will already have been selected. No turning up and winging it and then blaming God with some lame excuse like, "I'm just being led by the Spirit" This is a coverup for lack of organisation. It's not like the Lord only just figured out what was happening on the spur of the moment!
Now read: Leading Worship 2