I recently had someone approach me after church who was new to your church, with an interesting compliment about my worship leading.

I know my motivation for leading worship is not to receive compliments from people, but you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t get excited when someone wanted to say something positive about your Ministry. So while I don’t fish for or seek a compliment about my worship leading, this interesting compliment was one that made me stop and think.

And that is what I want to pass on to worship leaders around the world… This simple compliment once again cause me to refocus what I’m doing in my worship leading, and hopefully hit the mark when it comes to leading people closer to the presence of God.

She simply said that she loved every single song that I did when leading worship. She was referring to 4 weeks of many and varied songs, and I believe this is more important than just the fact that we have similar tastes in music.

What she mentioned was that many of the songs that I’m doing are slightly older, and therefore she related to them. As a new member of the church, she felt immediately welcomed when she heard and recognised songs that we were doing in worship. When someone comes to your church and only hears new songs off the latest CD, chances are they won’t know any of them, and the effect on a new person in your congregation is immediate and dramatic.

When you sit through a worship time but cannot relate to or recognise any of the songs, your first thought is, “I don’t belong here.” What made this lady feel at home, and what has made her stay on in our church community, is the fact that she knew and related to many of the songs that I’d chosen when I was leading worship.

Are these the songs that I like? Well, some of them are, but some of them are not. I don’t choose the songs I’m doing in worship just because I like them, I choose them because I feel that people can relate to them and can genuinely worship God in and around those songs. At the end of the day, it’s not whether I like the material, it’s whether people can relate to it, worship the Lord to it and lose themselves in His presence.

So I would encourage you, worship leaders, if you want to be powerful and anointed at what you do, choose your songs carefully. This little compliment about my worship leading has caused me to refocus on the songs that I choose, and why I choose them. I’m not saying you need to do lots of old songs, because many churches are doing more modern material, but what I am saying is that you need to choose songs that people can relate to and love. Very often these will not be the latest and greatest songs, but they will be songs that have become classics through the years. Don’t just churn them out the way you use to 5 years ago, give them a new and modern twist and that way you can sound modern but still be doing songs that people know and love.

So while you’re not fishing for compliments, and either am I, you do want to do material that is accepting and welcoming for people who are new in your congregation. After all, saying I’ve taught a song well or sounded great means very little to me. The ultimate compliment about my worship leading is that I’ve lead people into the presence of God, and I’m prepared to do any song that will draw people closer to God’s presence!

For the Love of Worship!

love of worshipHow many times have you been involved in a worship time that has flopped or is going nowhere, and you have stopped and asked yourself “Why am I even here?”

Other people may say that it’s a great worship time, that the music is excellent, that the singing is awesome, but you know deep down in your heart that there is no true worship going on… And your spirit is frustrated!

What you are experiencing is a love of worship, and a desire deep within to not settle for something less than true and genuine worship.

Why do we practice hard, do our best and play and sing to our best ability when we are involved with the worship team? It is for the love of worship!

Why do we press hard in a quiet times, spend time reading the word of God praying and preparing our hearts? It is for the love of worship!

Why then are we grieved when we see so many people pretending to do worship and only offering at best a good performance and at worst a glorification of themselves? It is for the love of worship!

When you genuinely love worship, you do not want to settle for anything less than true worship. You do not want a happy clappy time, you do not want a great performance and you do not want people coming up to you afterwards and saying that your singing or you’re playing was awesome.

When you genuinely love worship, what you want is from God to transform people’s lives as they come before his throne worshiping. As a praise and worship leader, it’s not enough to do a good job or a professional job, you want to see the holy spirit moving on people’s hearts as they humbly worship Jesus.

I believe that anything less than that is a love of good music, clever playing or singing and most often a love of self… Let us not fool ourselves thinking it is a love of worship, because if we genuinely loved worship we will pay any price, sing any song and do anything we could to see God’s holy spirit impact on people’s lives as a worship.

Although our intentions may be good, many times we settle for less because we think that that is all that we can do. But when you have seen God’s holy spirit move so beautifully and so powerfully in a congregation, you learn to not accept an imitation of the real thing!

If you are a worship leader who genuinely wants to be used by God and a powerful way to impact your congregation, I urge you to get on your knees and beg the Lord for more anointing, more skill and above all a heart that is totally devoted and totally thirsting for God.

Why do we do what we do? For the love of worship, that’s why!

journey of worship leadingWorship leading is not just about standing up in front of a congregation and singing a few songs… It should be a journey that as praise and worship leaders we have the privilege of leading our congregations into.

 

So what do I mean by the journey of worship leading?

This boils down to your perception of your role as a praise and worship leader. Many people feel that leading worship is just about singing songs, but to become a great worship leader you need to go beyond song leading and actually lead people on the journey of worship, from where they are in their life currently right to the throne of the Almighty!

Many times this journey is likened to the old Testament Temple, where you lead people from the outer courts through the holy place and into the holy of holies, where the spirit of God dwells between the cherubim.

The main point is this… People come to church and they are often not in a position to connect with God. They may have just had a fight with their spouse, been arguing with the kids or had heavy week at work, and they come to church carrying burdens and troubles in their lives.

Our job as praise and worship leaders is to not leave them there and sing songs at them, but to gently take them by the hand and lead them deeper and further into the presence of God!

If the longing of your heart is to lead people to Christ again and again, if the cry of your heart is to see your congregation worshiping at a level that they have never reached before, then this is a podcast you need to listen to!

And don’t forget we have great training available at our praise and worship leader University, so please check it out and become a part of our great fraternity of praise and worship leaders around the world. It’s awesome fun, phenomenal teaching and no matter where you are at in your worship leading currently, it will train you to become a better and more effective leader of your congregation in praise and worship.

Until next time,

DARIN

 

Praise and worship leaders, this is a critical podcast that you need to hear!

praise and worship leader leading

The big question is, are you leading your congregation in worship, or are you pushing them or, as many of us do, leaving them behind?

Let me clarify each of these before you even get to today’s podcast…

LEADING worship is about taking your congregation by the hand and leading them into a more wonderful and anointed worship experience.  This is what we are called to do, this is our mandate, and this is our aim!

BUT, and here’s the painful bit, many of us do not actually lead our people.  Many of us find ourselves PUSHING people into what we thing is worship, and I can tell you that while you can lead a horse to water, you cannot make them drink, and in the same way, you can push and reluctant person to worship, but it won’t be real worship.

As a result, many of us then find ourselves LEAVING our congregation behind.  We head off into the sunset worshiping on our merry way, and the people just stand around watching the band worship and checking their cell phones!  I have seen this countless times in churches large and small, so please forgive me for being so blunt about it, but I think as praise and worship leaders, we must stop and examine what we are doing, and search for (and pray for) new and powerful ways of leading our congregation into deeper worship experiences.

That’s what this podcast is all about, so settle back, grab a cuppa and enjoy examining what you do and how you can seriously improve your ministry with our podcast team…

K.I.S.SOften we make praise and worship leading so complex, when really the concept is pretty simple… worship Jesus with everything you have!  As praise and worship leaders, we want to make the music, the arrangements, the instruments and what we say and sing complex, interesting and inspired, but there is something inherently simple about worshiping God.

In fact, it’s almost like God wants the base things of this world to confound the wise, isn’t it?

Perhaps, in the middle of all the learning, all the rehearsals and all the instruments and performances, perhaps we need to get back to basics and keep things simple.  That’s what this great podcast is all about…

The Worship K.I.S.S

You have probably heard this before, but in worship we need to greet one another with a holy K.I.S.S… Keep It Simple, Silly!  SO grab a simple cup of tea or coffee, sit back and listen to the Praise and Worship Leader Podcast Team as they keep it simple and help you keep your worship leading simple before the Lord…

170- Surviving Burnout

Ssurviving burnouturviving burnout is a huge thing, and that’s what this worship leader podcast is all about.  Take it from someone who has lived through burnout, it is never, and I mean never ever, a pleasant experience.  It can no only ruin your life, but also affects those around you who love you, so this could be one of the most important podcasts you ever listen to…

Surviving Burnout!

If you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, depressed, tired or run-down as we get to the end of the year, then you are at risk of burnout.  In this podcast we talk to praise and worship leaders the world over, hard working, dedicated, above-and-beyond worship leaders like yourself who always strive for excellence, and we share with you ideas and techniques to not only avoid burnout if it is coming at you, but also deal with it if you have begun the slide into the nightmare of burnout.

So settle back and listen to the worship leader podcast, and if you want to reach out, feel free to email us so that myself and the team can pray for you and support you.  We are real people and we do genuinely care for you, your ministry and your life in Christ.

Blessings to ya at this Christmas time.  We will probably miss a week over Christmas, but will be back with a brand New Year full of promise after the Holiday.

DARIN and the team!

 

 

Pastors: How to Find the Right Praise and Worship Leader

praise and worship leader  Being the right praise and worship leader for your church is a key consideration for most Pastors and Leaders in church. Put the wrong guy, or girl, in this job, and your life can be made a misery. Get it right, and your church will begin to flourish even more.

So Pastors, be very careful when you select your worship leaders. It may not be the guy with all the musical talent and it may not be the best looking girl or the one with the big voice. What you really want is God’s choice, and while I cannot hope to make that choice for you, I can help to steer you in the right direction…

Pastors: How to Select the Right Worship Leader

1. Select leaders of ability: 

Just because they can sing or play, does not mean that they can lead an entire band. Your prospective leader should show leadership qualities in other areas, such as secular work, cell groups, evangelism, kid’s ministry, etc. Being a worship leader is exactly that: leading! So a great musician is not necessarily a great leader.

2. Select leaders of some musical ability:

They don’t have to be musicians or singers, but man it helps! You will find that if the person leading has a good knowledge and feel for music that the worship will tend to flow a lot more. Again I stress that the best musicians are not always the best leaders, even though they know the music side of things well. However, having a good knowledge of music and how it fits together in worship is a huge asset.

3. Select leaders who are teachable:

Great leaders are teachable. If they are not, you don’t want them, and it doesn’t matter if they are Mozart or Beethoven! You have to trust them, you have to work with them and you have to live with the consequences, so do yourself and your people a huge favour and chose humble, teachable leaders.

4. Select leaders who take responsibility:

If something happens and the worship is not all it could be when I am leading, then it is MY FAULT! I don’t blame the piano player, the singers or the pastor. It is my job, my passion and my joy to lead the worship, and my responsibility when anything, small or large, goes wrong. This pretty much ties in with the teachability thing, so look for leaders who care passionately about leading others into worship. Passing the buck is not on in the worship team. The buck stops with the leader.

If a worship leader really bombs out in worship, then I take it very personally as worship director, and move to deal directly with the problem. Don’t blame others, but be responsible.

5. Select leaders who love what they are doing:

It is not enough to be good at it, they must be passionate about leading people into worship. As a leader, I love, and get a huge amount of joy, out of seeing others lead into worship, to a greater and deeper experience with Jesus. This takes on a whole new perspective when, as is often the case with big churches, the worship leader is paid. If anyone does this for the money alone, I believe they are PROSTITUTING their gift. If pay is there, fine, but let us never see this as a motivation. Jesus did not die on the cross to give us a job!

6. Select leaders who lead by inspiration: 

There is a school of thought these days that leaders upset everyone because they are strong leaders. They make sure everything is done their way, or the offenders are out! They force their opinion on others and make them obey. I don’t believe these are strong leaders; these are dictators! True leaders inspire others to follow. They are firm where they need to be, but usually smooth over offenses by leading with humility and gentleness. They don’t offend the whole music team, they inspire them. These are the worship leaders you want.

I would hesitate to place someone who is not musical into the role of worship leader, because it makes it so much harder for them. That is not to say it cannot be done, but be careful. Believe me; it is easier to not appoint someone than it is to remove them from to job.

Praise and Worship Leaders: How to be the Right Leader

Here’s a quick word of advice to worship leaders: YOU ARE NOT GOD!!!! I’m one of you, so I can say things like that! You must never operate out of fellowship with the pastor. If you disagree, then you should defer to him, even if he is wrong. However, this does not preclude offering your opinion. Whatever happens, you need to be subject to him, and if you cannot be, tender your resignation and move to a church where you can serve with a clear conscience.

Here are some suggestions on how to serve your pastor:

How to lead praise and worship1. Have a real desire to serve the pastor:

Tell him you want to serve his vision, not your own. You have desires and visions in the Lord, but you will never put those before the pastor’s vision, because he is the leader of the church. I can testify that, as I served Bill Newman and ignored my own desires for success in music, the Lord opened the door to allow me to realize my own dreams, through Bill’s ministry. If you have a dream, make yourself subject to Godly Leadership, and watch the Lord bring it to pass!

2. Ask what he wants:

Does he want special songs that fit with the message? Does he want a specific style? If the congregation is above 70, chances are they don’t want rocky music. If they are young families, they may not be happy with all to wall hymns. Does he want open worship? If your church or your pastor is uncomfortable with certain things such as open worship, singing in tongues or hand raising, you’d better find out before you lead worship!

3. Ask about the format of the meeting:

Where is announcements, offering, etc? What type of song does he prefer for these? Discuss options with him and mention specific songs.

4. Ask about music being played behind prayers:

Some pastors love it, others hate it. If you have visiting ministry, ask them what they prefer, because not everyone is the same. You are there to serve, so do your best to do all that is required of you.

5. Ask how much talking he wants: leading worship

You are not there to preach, so ask if a prayer of, say, 30 seconds or the reading of a passage of Scripture is appropriate. Pastors hate having their meeting hijacked by the worship leader!

6. Ask how much time the pastor wants you to take:

AND KEEP TO TIME!!! Whatever the Spirit may be doing, do not dishonour your pastor by going over time. If God is about to cut lose in worship, ASK the pastor if he wants to continue or stop.

7. Never criticize the pastor:

Even if you feel he has made an incorrect decision, never criticize the pastor to others in the music team. You are there to serve, and if you feel his decision stopped the move of God, let God sort it out.

8. Remember, you are responsible for how the worship goes:

The buck stops with you, so if the worship time is poor, don’t look to blame the drummer, the guitarist, the organist, the singers or the overhead operator. The fault is yours. Deal with it, and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

9. Be an inspirational leader, not Hitler!

As mentioned in the pastors section, there is a school of thought going around that real leaders are strong and offend everyone. “It’s my way or the highway, dude!” This is, I believe, poor leadership. If you have to constantly force people to obey you, then you are out of your league. You need to lead by inspiring them to follow you, encouraging them when they fail and rebuking them with humility and grace when they disobey. This is not being soft, or trying to be popular, but in my experience really good leaders are popular, even in the face of unpopular decisions. By the same token, if someone refuses to tow the line, strong action may need to be taken. I have a chapter later in the book on Band management to tackle such issues.

I have been on stage several times when, in my opinion, worship has really bombed out. On one occasion, I was merely playing bass, and thus could not influence proceedings, but once or twice with Bill Newman I have come and apologized to him for my worship team missing the mark. He consoled and encouraged me, but I tell you when I walked out on stage the next night I was making doubly sure that the band was on the ball and the mistakes did not happen again. Accept responsibility, then change it!

You see, if you want the many, many great things that come with being a praise and worship leader, you have to be prepared to take the difficult times as well. If something goes wrong, don’t persecute yourself. Examine it, find out what went wrong and change it. Feeling sorry for yourself cannot be part of leadership, because it makes you useless to both your pastor and the Lord.

So inspire your people and lead them with confidence, because your pastor had confidence in you when he appointed you. Don’t let him down, and don’t let yourself down. Study the above points, make them part of your leadership life, watch God give you the privilege of leading folks into His presence and also bringing the best out in your troops. Remember, you are anointed, special and tremendously privileged! You are a praise and worship leader!

Perfect worshipHow do you create the perfect worship service… in fact, what is the perfect worship service at all?  I mean, we all know what a church service looks like, but how can you have a perfect worship service every single time you lead praise and worship?

Is it in the songs you choose, the clothes you wear, or is it about the God you serve and how you listen and obey?

If you have never lead the perfect worship service, this is your big opportunity!

The pod team discuss what the perfect worship service looks like, and the steps you can go through to get closer to it.  And don’t forget, it might look different depending on your church congregation!

And if you want to lead better worship, but not necessarily perfect worship, check out our Praise and Worship Leader University

So sit back, grab a latte and listen to another inspiring, slightly crazy worship leader podcast…

 

how to lead worship with passionIf you want to learn how to lead worship effectively, one of the key elements you need to establish is how you can best engage your congregation.

 

As I travel the world and visit many churches, this would have to be one of the most overlooked areas I witness.  Time after time I see the praise and worship team up there singing and leading away while the congregation just staring at them, or worse, checking their cell phones.

 

Learning how to lead worship in an anointed way must involve the worship leader engaging the congregation.  There are simple ways to do this, but the issue is  that we are not there to “do our thing” while others watch.  In fact, if that’s all that happens that I would say that, no matter how good the worship, the music or the presentation, we have failed in our sacred calling of worship leading!

 

Engaging People is How to Lead Worship

 

Our calling to not to play great music but to lead our people on a journey to the throne of God.  The come to church with troubles, distractions and things they are thinking about, and out duty and privilege is to lead them on this incredible journey from where they are at as they walk in to an incredible experience of worship and fellowship with the Holy Spirit.

 

The tools we use for this include our instruments, our voices, the things we say and the songs we choose.  Therefore, we must use all of these tools to not just provide a good experience, a great sound or a terrific show, but to provide a way whereby people can worship God deeply in Spirit and in truth!

 

So next time you lead worship, take the time to look at your congregation.  Are they with you?  Are they truly worshiping? Are they checking their phones or chatting to friends?  It it is the latter, no matter how good your music is, you have failed in your calling!

 

If you notice that a lot of your people are not engaged with you, don’t just keep barreling on hoping that they will get it right.  Have a good look at your song list, and ask yourself if they like the songs as much as you do!  Try listening to the Holy Spirit as you lead, then modifying what you are doing to make sure that you are actually engaging the people.

 

By doing this you can learn how to lead worship more and more effectively and become a huge asset to your church family, as well as filfilling your sacred calling as a worship leader.

 

 

I love being a praise and worship leader!  I love the calling, I love seeing the congregation respond and I even love the preparation, practice and set up!  Being a praise and worship leader is an integral part of my life, whether I’m active in leading, traveling to new audiences, recording or just sitting around strumming a guitar in my cell group.  I would rather be involved in the worship of the church than in any other department, even though the work demands from being involved in this aspect of ministry can be higher than in many other areas of the church.

I know many of you love being a praise and worship leader too!  While some of you may be frustrated or discouraged in your calling, I hope that this discussion of why I love what I do is an encouragement to you in your own situation.

The Calling of Being a Praise and Worship Leader

praise and worship leader DarinI love the fact that I’m called to be a worship leader!  God has not only laid this ministry on my heart and given me talents to use, but He has also challenged and developed it over time.  In fact, while some people in the various audiences around the world where I ministry would see my ministry as the finished product, I can assure you that my worship leading is part of the long, sometimes painful and still currently continuing education process!  You never actually arrive as a praise and worship leader, you keep developing and learning through the years!

All of us faced disappointments, discouragements and difficult times in our lives and in our ministries.  One of the greatest sources of encouragement in these tough times is the sure and steadfast knowledge that you have been called to this ministry.  If being a praise and worship leader is part of God’s calling on your life, then don’t give up and don’t turn aside from the way that he is ordained for you, no matter what the discouragements or external pressure may bring.  You are called, regardless of the circumstances, and that is enough!

The Challenge of Being a Praise and Worship Leader

Another thing I love about being a praise and worship leader is the challenge that it makes on my life, my walk with the Lord and on my musical and singing abilities!

In any ministry there’ll always be challenges and it is our triumphs over these challenges that build character into our lives.  Worship leading is not so much about self-esteem and self-confidence as it is about self-discipline, because we need discipline to meet the challenges that we face, and to overcome them in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Some of the challenges we face are musical.  We must learn to select the right songs and arranged them in innovative and attractive ways.  We will be challenged in our singing and musical ability, so we must constantly be improving our talents, honing and sharpening them regularly.

Some challenges we face are spiritual, so we must rise to the occasion and make sure that our life with the Lord is on track!  It is not enough to look good on stage when our personal life with Jesus is a fraud!  Who we present as onstage must be a reflection of who we are in the prayer closet, and this is a constant challenge to keep us humble and seeking the Lord at ALL times.

One of the unrecognized challenges of being a praise and worship leader is in leading our team and again we need the Lord’s wisdom as we lead.  It is not enough to be a great singer or musician, we need to be great leaders of the men and women in our team.  We need to inspire them, sometimes rebuke them and always be available to them to deal with any challenges that they face.  We need to deal with conflicts between team members, and recognize that we are responsible for the spiritual walk of all the team members if we are to become great and effective worship leaders.

The Joy of Being a Praise and Worship Leader

Along with the challenges there are also many wonderful joys in being a praise and worship leader.  When I overcome challenges this will bring me joy.  When I see our team growing in the Lord as well as gelling together as a band, this too brings me joy.  Even little things like hitting a great harmony or arranging a song in a new and exciting way bring me joy.

I believe that the ultimate joy of being a praise and worship leader is when we look out across the congregation and we see people worshiping the Lord with all their hearts.  The joy of knowing that I’m able to lead people into a deeper and more meaningful experience of God is a joy like no other, and seeing this makes up for all the hours of practice, the dealing with challenges and conflicts and the time given up to spend in preparation for the church service.

This to me is payment in full!  At the end of the church service, I want to know that I have been a good and faithful servant and there is no greater joy than that.  Standing on stage in seeing people in the audience losing themselves in worship and adoration of the Lord fills my heart with joy, and if you have the same calling as me I know it will bring you joy as well.

That’s why I love being a praise and worship leader!