For some reason, I woke up this morning thinking about what makes a great worship leader (what, not how you started your week?). I thought I’d jot down a few ideas and share them with you today. Kinda random I know. But I think there might be something important in here for one or two of you.
For the record, I spent nearly 10 years as a worship pastor (I’ve got some street cred).
1. Your craft is important.
As much as we like to pretend “it’s all about the heart not the skill,” shoddy musicianship is never cool. You don’t have to be an American Idol, but you have to be the best you can be. Work on your craft. Put in the hours. Take it seriously. Or do something else. Please.
2. Your life is your most vital instrument.
Don’t skimp on the skill. But the end of the day, you lead people with your life not your talent. Become a person people want to follow. Be a disciple who’s also a skilled musician, not a rock star that sings songs about God. I want to be led in worship, and to do that well you first have to be a great worshipper. 99.73% of that happens off the platform.
My friend and co-pastor Nathan LaGrange is still one of my favorite worship leaders. Not because he’s the best singer, but because his life is worth following. Don’t get me wrong, he’s far from perfect (I’ve got plenty of stories…we can talk later). But Nathan lives his life in pursuit of the King, and when he steps behind a microphone nothing else could be more evident. That kind of worship leading is contagious. Be that guy (or girl).
3. Don’t just play the songs.
Songs are tools. Use them well. We’re glad you can memorize David Crowder’s latest studio arrangement, but learn to wield your own sword. Don’t just be a mediocre cover band. Lead worship. (Just a pet peeve of mine).
4. Love people.
It’s OK to love music (in fact it’s more than just OK), but if you don’t love people don’t be a worship leader. Great worship leaders have a pastor’s heart. They actually care about those they lead. If you’re just in it for the music, there are plenty of other platforms for your talent. Use your gifts to support a worship leader, just don’t be one. Loving people isn’t optional.
Just a few random thoughts for your Monday morning. Do you agree? Anything I’ve left out?