In Part 1, I listed the first five traits of an effective worship leader. As I said before, these nine traits do not necessarily reflect modern technological advancements, but are descriptive of any humble, God-fearing minister working in a local church — in any era or culture, with any style of music, or in any denomination. It’s up to the individual minister whether or not to make use of the tools, people-serving skills and theological training available today. After all, serving God and His people is an eternal investment, and the dividends are for eternity as well, no matter how large or small the church or organization. Let’s give God our best!
The first five traits of an effective worship leader:
1. Serves the local church with excellence
2. Is a servant leader
3. Follows the direction of the Holy Spirit
4. Helps Christ followers encounter God personally
5. Facilitates a God-focus in corporate worship
Here are the four remaining traits:
Trait 6: Assists the leadership in fostering spiritual growth of the congregation.
The ultimate goal of a worship leader is to assist the pastor and staff in leading the congregation toward maturity in Christ. The weekly worship service — though the biggest and most time consuming — is only one aspect of that goal. It is also our duty to create a nurturing environment within the teams we lead and in smaller group settings within the church. Many of our worship team members consider the worship ministry their primary point of personal and spiritual contact within the church. Therefore, it’s important to implement “member care” as a vital part of the worship ministry. Member care involves ministering to each other, just as any small group or Sunday school class would.
We may not think about it too much, but the songs we teach and sing with our congregation each week are important tools in learning about God. They are also helpful during private prayer time, and to simplify memorizing Scripture. That’s why it’s important to scrutinize each song we use in worship, to make certain they are theologically sound ( … just because it sings well, is on the radio and sounds cool, doesn’t mean the song is Biblical).
Although it’s impossible for the worship leader alone to meet all of the spiritual needs of each member, it’s important to set up a system of volunteers within the team to help with things like hospital visitation, organizing meals (for those who are sick, going through a family crisis, or mourning the death of a loved one), prayer, service projects for those inside and outside the team, etc. Galatians 6:2 says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (NIV)”
Trait 7: Makes Christ known to the local community.
Each community has a unique culture and history. Understanding these important aspects will better help us minister to our neighbors. Rick Warren, founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., implemented “targeted evangelism” when he did a study several decades ago for his first church plant in Orange County. He created “Saddleback Sam” as a profile for the likely “Mr. South Orange County,” listing his attributes, preferences and tendencies. Some have come to criticize this approach, feeling that it excludes others. But a good understanding of the community in which we minister is the first step in reaching its citizens for Christ.
Also, many have neglected taking into account the history of a church or community; their preference may be to start from scratch with new ministries, programs, etc. It’s always wise, though, to get to know the personality of a church to discover the assets and victories in its history. The church may have had an important niche in the community that set it apart from other churches. Maybe it was a solid choir program, a strong children’s music program, a yearly event, etc., that helped distinguish it.
As a new minister, tearing out the old and replacing it with the new — all for the sake of “modernizing” the place — may be throwing out the baby with the bath water! So, get to know the history of the church and community you are serving — honor it, seek to understand it and build on its strengths.