Recently I’ve read some articles circulating about what not to say when you’re leading music at a church… They were extremely insightful and often bring back memories of worship services I’ve attended. It’s easy for me to think of what not to do when leading people in worship. A little more difficult was finding 7 things I think leaders should do. Here is my contribution: 7 things I’d like to see more often. Leave some comments about what you would like to see… It will help me be a better leader.
- Read the Bible out loud. The public reading of Scripture is actually commanded for corporate worship in the Bible. (1 Timothy 4:13) Funny how little we read it aloud together in services. Read Scripture over your people. Let the Word of God do the work. Even better if you read Scripture that is relevant to the song we are about to sing or the one we just sang.
- Tell me what the song is about. Lyrics often move quickly and make references to things that are easy to pass over. Sometimes writers are incredibly poetic and it is difficult to understand everything we are singing. Slow me down… don’t let me race past song lyrics… tell me about the references that stand out to you or the poetic inferences I may have missed. Let me know why you think this song has value and what it is trying to communicate.
- Tell me something God has taught you. The most powerful worship moments I have been involved in at worship services are when the leader is transparent about something God has taught them. When the leader explains an insight that the Lord has taught, I am encouraged that they are growing and inspired to seek the same growth. Even if the insight seems small and obvious to me, genuine insight cannot be faked and growth is inspiring. Let me see you growing through a relationship with God that transcends your time on a stage.
- Talk about your gratitude for something God has done. Gratitude will lead your congregation to deeper worship. As you express thanks to God for the things He has done or the character traits He has revealed, my gratitude is increased and so is my joy. After you share what you’re grateful for, pray and give thanks publicly for it.
- Don’t ask me casual questions, ask questions designed to make me think. “How is everyone?” and “You guys ready to worship?” Are lazy ways to begin a worship service. In fact, questions to a crowd are lazy. They’re not bad or sinful. They’re not ridiculous or inappropriate. They’re just lazy. If the only thing you can think to do is ask a question, then make it a profound question. Prepare ahead of time and lay out a good question. Perhaps a theological one that is going to be dealt with in the lyrics of the song, sermon, or Scripture reading. Or maybe a question that calls the audience to consider Christ’s character. Thought provoking questions can inspire the soul and prepare the heart for worship.
- Pray… for real though. Be sure you actually pray. There is nothing worse than a contrived, forced prayer. Everyone in the room recognizes it, no one appreciates it. It’s silly. Don’t do it. Pray for real, even if it is just short.
- Nothing… don’t say anything. Let the silence sit for a moment on purpose. Model breathing for me. We are a culture that cannot stand silence. We surround ourselves with noise all the time and we drown out any difficult thoughts that may be troubling or exhausting. We need some silence. Silence to process what we are feeling. Silence to engage the words we are singing. Silence… we need silence to breath and consider the majesty of God. Give me some silence once and a while. Do it on purpose, not just because you have nothing to say, but so that what you don’t say carries tremendous weight.
So I am genuinely interested: what do you think? Is there anything I missed? Anything you particularly don’t like that I thought was valuable? Let me know…. I’m genuinely curious, since I’m an all in one’er and need to know what I’m doing well and what I’m doing poorly. Thanks in advance.