WMB 4.2 — I am taking WMB and writing a few posts in this series about the ROLE OF THE WORSHIP LEADER. This is part of a series here
I am a lead worshiper, so my job is simply to worship while I am leading.
Better said: Worshiping while being up in front of people is only part of leading worship, there is more to it than that.
Often I will hear worship leaders say that if they simply worship while they are in front of their church that they have done their job. I think this is actually wrong. There is so much more to leading worship than having a personal worship time in front of other people. Leading worship, just like in leading anything else, requires putting your own worship expression second to the congregation you are leading. While engaging in worship is important and should be happening, it is not the primary role while you are up in front of people.
Lead Worshiper vs. Worship Leader.
I love the concept that has been around where the term “lead worshiper” replaces “worship leader”, especially when talking about one who practices being a worshiper, not just when on the platform. Yes, this is good. But, it can also be wrong if it means that all you do in front of people when you supposedly leading them is closing your eyes and having your time. To most people who wish to be led, this feels awkward. Is following a leader simply watching them or actually being led somewhere? How does what you do lead them there?
There is a reason that I like worship leader as a title for the role. While we are made to worship as people, some of us are called to lead people in worship–whether through teaching, music, programming, tech or you name it. Leading is the role. Worship is the area that role takes shape. Worship Leading is a Craft
The tools that one needs to lead worship include communication skills, planning systems, theological preparation, and in most cases an artistic craft. Working on all of these things off stage is as important as the worship leader feeling like he is engaged in worship himself.
Some are called to teach and the ones that actually work on it and improve their skills are more effective in using that gift to its potential. The gifts for leading worship are the same. One cannot simply rely on their sincere desire to worship. A lot of people sincerely feel like they can sing, but if they do so without skill in front of many people the lack of skill becomes a distraction. Right?
It is about those we lead, not us as worship leaders
The bottom line here is that while it is important to model worship, that can happen elsewhere. We need to make our leadership about those we lead, not ourselves. We serve them. So, the keys of the songs, the volume of the room, the arrangements and any other consideration needs to be filtered through experience of who we desire to lead.
This does not mean we make worship about the people. It means we make leading worship about providing an environment to help a group of people worship. Yes, it helps that we worship while leading, but really there may be times when we are not feeling it. Or there may be times when we feel it so much that we forget the people we are charged to lead.
Either of these can get in the way if we are not leading. Might it draw attention to myself if I simply shed tears? Could closing my eyes all the time close me off from the people?
There is a balance. We need to be free to express our heart, but we also need to know that if we are in the role of leader that it might mean our wants come second a lot of the time. In a future post, I will talk about how to get this balance.