Are You a Worship Leader?

This past September a band member asked how they could become a worship leader.  As a result I had to put into words what I think are the important signs that someone is ready to become a worship leader.  Of course, everyone up front is a worship leader in one sense, but here I am talking about the person who actually “leads” the time of worship, the emcee of the service, the contemporary cantor, if you will.

Telling someone whether they are or are not worship leader material can be difficult, and so I spent some time praying and thinking about the issue.  At first I wanted to list detailed skills, such as reading music or leading worship in a particular way, but after some interaction with my leadership team and a few drafts, I settled on five general areas: spiritual walk, leadership potential, team spirit, worship presence, and musicality.

Here is how I would define those areas:

  • In spiritual walk a worship leader will be someone who is pursuing God and his approval in their life, which will be evidenced by the way they live and worship.
  • In leadership potential a worship leader will be someone whom people naturally want to follow and someone who is always on time and prepared.  This person will also be teachable.
  • In team spirit a worship leader will be someone who adds to the energy of a team rather than detracting or remaining neutral.
  • In worship presence a worship leader will be someone who is welcoming, inviting and transparent on stage, and also who displays a heart of worship.  As mentioned above, this can be an indicator of your spiritual walk because you cannot lead someone where you have not already been yourself.
  • In musicality a worship leader will be someone who is able to sing parts and melodies with precision and expression.

How about you?  How would you decide if an aspiring worship leader was ready to take the plunge?

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2 thoughts on “Are You a Worship Leader?

  1. I like what you say here. Under “leadership potential” I would also say that person has to have a vision for where he/she needs to take people.

    “Into God’s Presence” is too nebulous an answer for that question, though it is true. Simply soaking people in some enjoyable music that points to God is worship leadership that often fails to lead. It simply plops people at God’s feet and fails to lead them deeper into their relationship with God. The best leadership points people to praise God for His attributes they most need to focus on for the day and has a sense of what the people need to see and why.

    • I like what you have to say, Sally. We have to be intentional about everything we do, not just about choosing songs. Choosing the songs is perhaps the easiest thing worship leaders do because they do not have to interact with people when they choose songs. On Sunday the least important thing is the song and the most important thing is how you interact with the people.

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