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4. I AM the worship leader

You’ve heard it said that “Leaders are born, not made”.  (shur nuff born again)

There really is a fine line between manipulation and guidance.  Between committing  and cajoling.  Between telling and asking.  Between forcing and inviting.  Between fear and jumping in with both feet.  Between leading and forcing.

But am I a worship “leader”?

Is worship “happening” if I’m leading?

Some things that can inhibit or enhance the worship leader’s impact are obvious, and I’ve tried to capture a few here.  I’d love your comments so that I can build this, and maybe even enhance the worship dynamic in someone else’s place of worship.

  1. What if the worship team isn’t worshiping – and it’s obvious to the congregation?   Folks on the worship team are leading by example (especially if you’re all stationed right in front of the congregation).
  2. There is a history – a tradition – a religion – that requires the congregation to sing, but also requires that singing, and perhaps polite rhythmic clapping, but that’s ALL that’s allowed to take place.  We know that God isn’t pleased by our showy-ness.   This isn’t about showiness.  If the worship leader is hamstrung, and the congregation is hamstrung, this horse just won’t pull.
  3. There wasn’t approval given.  Sounds simple enough, but you know what?  If the worship leader suggests that it’s okay to raise my hands, then I know that the folks behind me aren’t going to find my raised hands to be the distraction to their worship experience that they might otherwise become.  Simply giving permission is all that is sometimes required.  Alternatively, you could, I suppose, have folks planted in the front who love to express themselves.
  4. There wasn’t an invitation given to worship.  Even inviting folks to stand will do wonders for the people in the front rows, who typically might be surrogate worship leaders in the congregation.  If everyone stands, then no one can’t see…
  5. The worship leader is manipulative.  Please don’t tell me what I must do until you are my trusted friend.  Remember that the church is made up of many parts – many of whom are bruised, proud, angry, indifferent…
  6. It’s okay to apologize.  Remember, people want you to succeed as a worship leader – they WANT to worship, and you’re going to help them, or hinder them.  Be honest, but I’d recommend against saying stuff like “I don’t really like this song, but we’re going to sing it anyway”.
  7. Do you enjoy being a worship leader, a music leader?  I don’t mean “happy happy”.
  8. Is it a calling?
  9. Can you parlay with others re your strengths and weaknesses?  This kind of hurts sometimes, but it’s been worth it many times over.

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