When you are called to leading praise and worship, there is a huge amount of joy, but this can be counterbalanced by a certain degree of pain in getting your worship leading to the point that you want it to be.
Leading praise and worship is, in fact, about those two phrases; praise and worship and leading! Sure, it helps if you play an instrument or sing well, but this is not essential when it comes to leading praise and worship. The two main requirements are that you have a heart to worship (and many people can sing or play well, but do not really know the first thing about worship!), and that you are able to be a true leader to your band and your audience.
So, what does leading praise and worship actually mean in the context of worship? We know that the Biblical definition of leading involves serving (Mark 10:45), and I believe that this is an excellent frame of reference when you consider leading praise and worship and a team.
What to Do When Leading Praise and Worship
When leading praise and worship, you ought to be responsible for the overall direction and execution of the worship in your church on any given Sunday. Most often you should decide the songs, the order of the songs, the way these songs are linked together and the style of music used, as well as specialized areas of worship such as open worship or blending into communion, etc. This should be your domain, and that means that you need to take full responsibility for every decision you make, whether it works out well or poorly.
As praise and worship leaders, we all want to know that in the successful worship times, where you really sense the Lord’s presence and power, we had a huge part in it. But when things go wrong, when the worship is tough, when the band or singers miss the mark, or the audience is bored or lost, we too have to realize that, as Franklin D Roosevelt said, “the buck stops here!”
So, leading praise and worship involves you not only setting the direction and pace of worship, it also sees you bearing the responsibility for whatever goes right or wrong during worship. You cannot have one without the other.
Leading Praise and Worship Means Leading Your Team and the Congregation
Leading praise and worship also involves leading your band and singers, dealing with the difficulties they can present, which can sometimes draw more pain than tears. YOU have to decide who is on this week. YOU have to decide what part each will play, and YOU have to tell them when they are out of line, but do this always in love!
Yet throughout all of the worship leading trials and tribulations, ultimately you mus always remember that you are in this position of leading praise and worship to serve; to serve the Lord, to serve the Pastor and to serve both the congregation and your fellow musicians and singers. A great leader leads by serving others. A great leader leads by inspiration, not by a climate of fear and intimidation, yet as I travel the world I see gain and again worship leaders who believe that they are dictators, ruling in a climate of fear.
Leading praise and worship is first and foremost about worship, and worship is about serving. Worship leaders, I beg you, please do not laud it over your troops with an iron fist. Be strong, but also be full of love, full of grace and full of a serving heart. Then you shall truly rise to be the worship leaders you long to be. If you want more teaching on leading praise and worship check out the full Worship Training package.