As a praise and worship leader you need to set your direction from the outset.
As a praise and worship leader, you have two distinct directions in which you must lead. The first is that you must lead the congregation into worship, into a greater sense of God’s presence, but the second aspect of praise and worship leading is that you must lead your band and singers in a way that promotes unity, and in a manner of excellence. In this article, I would like to do with the second aspect of leadership: that is, how you lead your band and singers.
There are many different styles of a praise and worship leader, and some are more effective than others. Many people try to lead by enforcing rules and regulations, and while people are babies, there is a pervading sense of fear and read within the band and singers. This is not the style of leadership that I recommend when it comes to being an effective praise and worship leader.
When leading I much prefer to be an inspirational praise and worship leader, that is one who leads by inspiring others to greater heights, and does not drive them into submission in a climate of fear.
How do I quickly and effectively begin to inspire those around me to follow me as praise and worship leader?
Here’s a few suggestions that I believe will yield much fruit. If you take them to heart and make them part of your praise and worship leader style:
1. Pray effectively.
As a praise and worship leader, you need to be praying for each individual member of your band and singers, you need to pray before every practice and service, and above all, you need to pray that the Lord will prosper them, their gifts and their lives as they serve him in worship.
Most importantly, make sure you pray together often, because prayer brings unity in the Spirit.
2. Get organized.
If you turn up at music practice, and you do not have a clear direction for the band and singers, they will very quickly lose faith in your leadership. You need to be prepared, choosing the songs in advance, knowing the type of arrangement is that you wish to pursue, and knowing who it is on your team for that week so that you can structure the songs effectively.
3. Make sure that you listen to your band and singers.
If you wish to start on the wrong foot as a praise and worship leader, start by completely ignoring their opinions, and you’ll certainly set up a dictatorial style of leadership, which in the end will not lead to inspirational worship leading on your part. The members of your band and singers must feel that they can offer opinion, and I always start by redirecting this to them. I tell them that I value their opinion, I encourage them to offer opinion, but I also state that this does not mean that I will always accept and act upon their opinions regarding the worship. But they need to feel that they have a voice, and that they get a hearing from you.
4. Keep a fun atmosphere.
People love having fun. Most often, my band members and singers tell me that music practice is one of their most enjoyable nights of the week, because whatever I do I keep the farm, light-hearted, but still serious and productive atmosphere. Plus, my group sees that while I can have fun, and be a really nice guy, I still have a serious agenda and can make the tough decisions is necessary.
5. Do not tolerate disunity.
I can put up with many things in my worship team, but disunity is not one of them. If there is tension between the members, if there is ill feeling between the members, all directed at myself, this must be dealt with effectively. I tried to do this, based on Biblical principles, so I start by talking to them privately, if this does no good. I will talk to them directly in front of the band. In my experience, I have only ever had to do this once, because I believe most problems can be solved one on one.
6. Don’t play the manipulation game.
Sometimes one member of the team will threaten to resign because they are uncomfortable with changes you have brought in. If this happens, smile sweetly, wish them the best, and accept the resignation, even if they are a key person of the team. If people are genuinely uncomfortable with changes you’ve made, then approaching you are talking to you is the correct avenue for first resolution, not resigning on the spot. Most often an early resignation like this is an attempt to manipulate you.
In the same way, be straight as a praise and worship leader with your team members and do not manipulate them. You don’t like being manipulated, and either today.
7. Introduce major changes with care.
Sometimes when you take over as worship leader, the band really needs a change of focus, a change of direction, a change of format and a change of worship leading style. Other times, the team has been doing pretty well before you became worship leader, so any changes you introduce to a successful worship team should be more gradual. If you are introducing changes, make sure your pastor is in agreement with these, and asking to support you as you introduce these changes.
Also, make sure that at least half of your worship team is excited by the changes, otherwise you may have real difficulty in making these changes stick, and may alienate most of your band, and lesser your effectiveness as a praise and worship leader.