how to lead worshipIf you are looking for ways to learn how to lead worship in three easy steps then this could be one of the most important articles you’ve ever read.  Leading worship in church is a responsible and respected position, but many times people who are inexperienced are thrown into the job, even though they do not know how to lead worship effectively.  So here are a few points on how to lead worship powerfully and effectively, especially if you are inexperienced.

How To Lead Worship Step 1: Prepare Your Material

The first step in learning how to lead is to prepare your material thoughtfully, carefully and most importantly prayerfully.  I cannot emphasize this point enough: if you want to learn how to lead worship in a powerful way that is well received by your audience, you must select your material carefully.

The best praise and worship songs to use, especially when you are learning how to lead praise and worship, are ones that people are familiar with.  This will of course very from church to church, but there are a number of great “standards” that people know and love and will immediately respond to.  Great praise and worship hymns such as “I Surrender All”, “How Great Thou Art” and “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” are often sure fire ways two great worship times, as are more modern songs such as “Shout to the Lord” or “How Great Is Our God.”

The thing to remember when you were learning is that praise and worship leading is more about your audience than it is about your preferences.  One of the biggest mistakes those learning how to lead make is they choose songs they liked that the congregation is unfamiliar with.  If you want to make a great impression lead worship with anointing and great favor, select songs that everybody knows!

Step 2: Prepare Your Worship Team

If you are starting out, you need to prepare your worship team so that they are 100% with you and supportive of what you were doing.  You need to spend time with them not only practicing and playing, but also enjoying coffee and laughs as you build a relationship that will be transferred into your praise and worship leading.

Make sure you spend time preparing your team in prayer, and also explaining to them why you were doing certain songs in the order you have chosen.  As you arrange the songs, try to include their ideas because there is great power in unity, and if you are learning you must also be learning how to lead men and women.

Step 3: Prepare Your Heart

The third area of learning how to lead worship is to prepare your own heart.  You need to spend time with the Lord if you are going to lead others into his presence, and that includes prayer and devotions, reading the word of God and seeking him as to which songs he wants to use in the worship time.

Of all the areas of preparation, if you are learning how to lead worship the most important is to prepare your own heart.  If you have seen in your life, confess it and get it out of the way.  If you have distractions in your life, deal with them and make sure they do not interfere with your mind or your heart as you come to lead worship.

I believe that if you take these three simple steps to heart, you will learn how to lead praise and worship in a powerful and effective way for your congregation.  Remember, you are not just learning how to do it but you are learning how to lead your team, prepare your hearts and direct your audience into a greater worship experience.

So when you have the opportunity, don’t just stand up and sing a series of songs but learn how to lead worship in a powerful, anointed and effective way.

Worship Team Training is a far more complex role than most worship leaders realize! They start off thinking that all they have to do is sing and the rest will follow, but over the years I have learned many things about worship team training and handling my musicians and singers. In creating and working with different worship teams I have also made hundreds of mistakes, most if which I do not want you to make when you are worship team training. I would like to share with you a couple of things I’ve been taught, in the hope that you’ll be able to duck these little bumps along your own journey.

Worship Team Training is More Than a Passion

worship team trainingWorship leading needs to be a passion for the worship leader, but for most of your band and singers and that is why worship team training is so essential.  However, you may be dispirited to find that they are not as passionate as you when it comes to your worship leading!

We must not forget the members of the worship groups are volunteers. I know there are some churches that have paid musicians and singers but ninety percent of us have volunteers. In that we must remember that while we must have a group of basic rules of our teams, we mustn’t be harsh in our worship leading policies.

Worship Team Training is More Than Rules

Here is what I mean by that. If your rules are too strict and or they are too controlling you will have trouble keeping volunteers, no matter how good your worship team training or how big the church. This is a mistake that I made early on and soon found out very quickly that a volunteers heart is to serve not be proscribed by a handful of rules. As I recall scripture has something to say about rules that are too stern. Are we going to act like Pharisees, or are we going to stand up and act like true worship leaders!

The best leaders lead by motivation, not by orders and rules. If you want the very best from your worship team training, become a worship leader of the highest order, and inspire the adulation and devotion of those you lead in your Worship Leading ministry.

Worship Team Training and Team Requirements

Another point to consider is that we have got to be open to changing to the requirements of the team. Remember this is a worship leading ministry. For instance, say your drummer just got a new job. And part of that job needs him to take some night classes. He still wants to be on the team but his classes happen to be on the booked walk through nights. He knows that he must rehearse as part of your worship team training to be on the team. What do you do?

Simply ask the remainder of the team if there is another night or time that they could meet. Almost all of the time you will be able to work something out for your worship team training. I have done this for many different situations. Whether it be childcare or job related or what ever. The point is this is a Worship Leading ministry. Adapt to the requirements of the people as long as it will not hinder or affect the worship team training or dynamics in a negative way.

Another common mistake many worship leaders is making worship team training too structured. Yes you want the band to be musically tight. And you have new songs you want to work on. But make sure you have fun too. Often the team just wants to fellowship awhile before worship team training or before you rehearse. Often you might want to jam together on a good chord progression for fun. As an important point I can see these jam sessions making the musicians tighter.

Again, helping your team enjoy worship team training and rehearsal is a key to having great dynamics within your team. We must never forget that. People must come before music. Don’t only get together for worship team training, rehearsals and the service. Do not simply rehearse and serve together, you need to play together also. Have parties. Go on barbecues. Have a games night or go out together. Simply put, have fun together away from the band setting and away from worship team training. Fellowship together. This is a superb way to get to know one another and to build friendships and trust.

Remember, all work and no play will make the singers and musicians stay away.  There is more to worship leading than worship team training, rehearsals and the service!

I am often asked advice on how to lead praise and worship with an inexperienced team.   If you want to learn how, you will have to face this one some day: the situation whereby you have to carry a member of your band or singers, for whatever reason, even though you know this will seriously affect your worship leading and the spirit of worship in the church that service.

how to lead praise and worshipThere are many facets to this problem, but the central fact is this: you can still be a great worship leader even if your band is imperfect, or even incompetent!

How to Lead Praise and Worship But Carry Some of Your Band!

If your church is anything like mine, you are not worship leading with seasoned professionals, you are dealing with amateurs, which means that you have to be a servant and coax them along with a spirit of love and tolerance. In my book on how to lead praise and worship, I teach that there is never a reason to speak down to these people, or to embarrass them. Your job as a praise worship leader is to encourage them, even if they are poor, even if they mess up the wonderful worship leading time you had planned. I believe that the Lord will honor you for this!

Most often these individuals are trying hard, and will be crushed if you convey that you are upset with them, so please be careful even with the way you look at other band members. Remember, if you have lots of talent but no love, you are only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal (1 Corinthians 13).  Just as you are always learning how to lead worship, so they can have a learning curve for their role too!

How to Lead Yet Carry These Guys?

There are ways and means of carrying an underachiever, but it is certainly easier in some parts of the band than others.

Singers are easy: Turn them off in the front of house with a quiet word to the sound man, but keep them in the foldback so they think they are singing. if they are actually off, turn them down a bit in the foldback.

Guitars: Similar to the above.

Bass: Much harder to hide, so I would suggest rather that you rewrite the music in a much simpler for, using basic notes with a minimum of changes per bar.

Drummers: This is the hardest. I have this situation now, and these are tough. I must say, inexperienced drummer have a habit of either slowing down in faster songs, or completely mixing up the kick and snare, so the snare is on beat one, and the kick beat two. in my church, you will often see me off mike calling out to the drummer, “the other one”, which means they have to change the kick and snare back!

The bottom line is, when you learn how to lead praise and worship and continue to serve and love with the right attitude, you will be able to bear with your less competent band members. I would chose simpler songs, even if you don’t want to. When I have one of these guys on, I will often change the songs I am doing to find something within their abilities.

Learning How to Bring the Best Out of Your Team

Finally, recognize that learning how to lead is about learning how to bring the best out of your team.  Pray and believe the Lord for an awesome worship time, even if it is not up to your standards! After all, when you are worship leading God is listening to your heart, not necessarily the quality of your music!

If you manage your team correctly, both the good and the bad members, the competent and the incompetent, then you will truly be learning not only how to lead praise and worship, but also how to lead men and women in godliness.

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:

praise and worship leader1. 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.