I don’t pretend to have all the answers, and when it comes to leading worship I hope I never stop learning. We’ve been blessed to lead worship for a lot of conferences, camps and church events the past years and I’m constantly running into young worship leaders that ask “how did you get to do this?” So here are some thoughts for every young worship leader out there!
Be faithful in the little things.
If there’s one thing I can encourage you in the most, it’s simply to be faithful where you are. Don’t be the guy that looks at your church as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. Don’t let your dreams get in the way of God’s purpose for His church. If God has you in front of 20 people or 20,000 – give them your whole heart every week.
Pride is the crutch of the insecure.
I’ve known a lot of worship leaders, and I know myself – it’s easy to struggle with pride. Usually we put on pride to cover up our insecurity. Chances are if you’re half way decent, you’ll constantly have people in your church coming up to you telling you how great you are. How they like your new song better than
Chris Tomlin’s. The scariest thing is when we start to believe it. The best way to stay humble is constantly look for opportunities to serve. Serve your pastor or youth leader by helping put out the chairs before service. Serve the sound guy by rolling cables and leaving a clean stage. Serve the janitors by picking up trash afterward. I’d go as far as go out of your way to do it when no one notices,
it’s amazing how we even become prideful about serving when we want other people to see it. Keep in mind the greatest ministry opportunity God may have for you today may very well be off the stage.
Remove the mirror out of the green room.
Ok, so maybe your church doesn’t even have a “green room” – maybe your green room is the janitors closet you pray in before service… but either way – the point is – worship is a matter of the heart more than outward appearance. I know sometimes a mirror can come in handy to make sure you don’t have food between your teeth before heading out on stage, but nowadays I feel like “worship leader” has become it’s own fashion statement. You know what I’m talking about… it’s either the fancy glasses with no prescription, or the flawless hair held perfectly in place for camera. Don’t get me wrong – there’s certainly nothing wrong with looking your best on stage – you should. Just don’t turn into that guy that’s more concerned with your image on livestream than actually leading people to a personal encounter with Jesus. May your character and heart always outweigh your talent and image.
Remove the music stands and lyric monitors.
I know it sounds crazy, but actually memorize the lyrics and chords. You can’t be fully involved both worshipping and leading others to do so if you’re caught up in what the next lyric or chord change is. Regardless of how you feel about Kobe Bryant (one of the best basketball players to ever play the game), I heard him say a great quote recently. “I have every advantage on the court because of how I prepare off the court.” Let your preparation off the stage be what leads you to offer your best on the stage.
Lastly – know your role.
As worship leaders we’re here to lead people to an encounter with Jesus – then get out of the way. Don’t get too caught up in having to learn the latest greatest in worship songs and overwhelm your church with too many unknown songs. Simply give them Jesus and get out of the way.