These words are for the worship leaders, and it’s like a coal, burning in my heart: What the world needs now from you as a worship leader is not primarily your live and online production skills, your songwriting, your presentation abilities, your high quality gear, or even your years of worship leading experience. What the world needs now from a worship leader is true spiritual authority – spiritual authority that is cultivated by relentlessly choosing a daily and weekly secret life with God, lingering in His presence on your instrument with no other agenda than worship. Spiritual authority emerges onto a stage or a screen with a depth and intimacy that is evident no matter the format, no matter the audience.
Many worship leaders are being led right now by the tangible things that are easier to tweak, and that are more in line with their interests and skills. Some are letting their production values and passions for gear and a great online video presentation take the lead. Others are putting their music in front of them, and leading us in music that worship-focused while struggling to engage with the person on the other end of the screen.
Focusing on those “controllables” is not what will give you the discernment you need to lead a Spirit-responsive worship set, live or online, that meets us where we’re at and is a conduit through which the Holy Spirit can heal, deliver, give words of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, and move the heart of the worshipper.
Music has never been enough to fix the human heart; it is only part of the equation when it comes to effective worship leadership. Years of experience matter, especially when music is memorized and there is a sweet, mature fluidity to the set. But spiritual authority is the intangible that makes it all work – and has always been the core at the center of effective worship leading.
Don’t be fooled; this is not the time to focus all your efforts on polishing the exterior expression of worship leading – it’s the time to cultivate your interior life as a worshipper. The end result will translate on any stage, and in any format, the cultural moment demands – and will change the sound of the music you lead.
This article originally appeared here, and is used by Dan Wilt’s generous permission.