Home Worship & Creative Leaders 9 Essential Traits of an Effective Worship Leader, Pt. 1

9 Essential Traits of an Effective Worship Leader, Pt. 1

Trait 3: Follows the direction of the Holy Spirit.

I’ve made many mistakes in my life and career by doing things without first asking the Lord. I operated on impulse rather than trusting in God, and in doing so, always missed the “best” that He had for me. Thank the Lord for His grace by eventually getting me back on track!

The direction of the Lord is found in His Word, through prayer, through the wise counsel of His people. When God sometimes asks us to do something that seems illogical or out of the ordinary, it’s always good to be patient and follow the lead of the Holy Spirit. If the prompting of the Holy Spirit leads us away from a worship plan during a service, it’s good to follow. I’ve seen God move in incredible ways when I have obeyed and moved away from my preset plan.

Trait 4: Helps Christ-followers encounter God personally.

As worship leaders, it’s easy to think of our work as a service to the whole congregation, not as much to individuals. It must be understood, though, that as shepherds, we help lead the flock together, en mass, but that happens by moving one sheep at a time. We are not only charged with ministering to those in the general congregation, but also to those in the teams that we lead. We help our congregations encounter God personally by:

Designing weekly services to draw the individual into a one-on-One encounter with God.

Choosing songs that teach Scripture and spiritual concepts to the congregation.

Trait 5: Facilitates a God-focus in corporate worship.

The term entertainment is usually misunderstood in relation to worship. To entertain, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, is: “to keep, hold or maintain in the mind.” The Free Dictionary definition is: “To hold the attention of (someone) with something amusing or diverting.” Using techniques to hold the attention of an audience has been used by teachers and preachers all the way back to Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount. The stories told by Jesus helped the audience better understand and remember difficult spiritual concepts, just as good storytelling does today.

The goal of the worship production staff in planning the weekly service is to facilitate a God-focus for the congregation. Today, we use music, preaching and the arts — with the help of video, sound and lighting —to tell our stories. The result, though, must be a focus on God and not on the techniques we use.

I will list the final four traits in the next post. Thanks for reading!  

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jamieharvill@churchleaders.com'
I am a native of southern California and grew up in the shadow of Disney, Fender guitars, Hollywood and the Pacific Ocean. I am best known for writing worship songs such as Ancient of Days, Firm Foundation and Because We Believe. Now I live near Nashville, TN, where I continue to write songs, play guitar and lead worship at a wonderful church.