I remember the day like it was yesterday.
I remember my heart racing, tears flowing and my life changing. It was the day I experienced the presence of God for the first time. Sure, I had been in church many times before. But this time was different. This time I felt the love of God sweep over me like never before. I could sense His presence. I caught a glimpse of His glory.
And I’m not one to get emotionally overwhelmed by things. I’m much more analytical. But this was different. This was the call of God. This was an awakening from death to life. When I think on that moment, it reminds me that those moments are happening all the time. Every song we choose, every word we speak, every service we lead, destinies can be altered.
These are the kinds of things I wish I was told when I started leading worship. Which is why I compiled this list. If you’d like, share this with the young worship leaders you’re working with.
Nine Lessons for Young Worship Leaders
1.You Don’t Need to Make Something Happen – Powerful worship doesn’t depend on your ability to work up a room and be a charismatic leader. The Holy Spirit is moving. Jesus is glorious. All you need to do is highlight that. And get out of the way.
2. Worship Leading Is About Worship and Leadership – You need to be a worshiper. But that’s not enough. The stage isn’t the place for your own personal worship. You need to lead people and facilitate others’ encounters with God.
3. Serve Your Church, Not Your Ego – You are a part of a local church. It’s not a place to trumpet your own awesomeness or to do what you want. You’re there to serve a lead pastor’s vision and to passionately be a part of it.
4. Choose Songs That Are Good for Your People – Don’t just choose songs you like or even just songs that are popular. Choose songs based on what they say and the faith they build in people. Think pastorally. What do your people need to say and sing?
5. Songs Are Tools, Not Ends in Themselves – The goal of your “worship time” isn’t to sing through songs. Rather, carry something in your heart for what you’re about to do. Use songs as vehicles to help you lead people into declaring the promises of God.
6. Learn How to Communicate – Singing isn’t enough. Great worship leaders build trust with the people they lead. And that is done by knowing how to speak and communicate in a way that helps people relax and endears them to you.
7. Don’t Think of It as a Career Move – Thinking of worship leading as a career leads to all sorts of problems. Think of it more in terms of your calling and your passion to serve the local church. I’m not saying you shouldn’t get paid for what you do. Just don’t approach your local church’s stage as a way to climb the corporate ministry ladder. Lead because you love God and have a heart for his people.
8. Be a Pastor – No, you don’t need to have credentials. But you need to approach your role pastorally. Love people. Care for them. Lead with compassion. Then all the other things—songwriting, albums, events—actually make sense.
9. Don’t Neglect God’s Word – It’s easy to neglect the Bible for new worship music, leadership books and “creative inspiration.” Resist the urge. The Word is never a book you graduate from. You never learn enough. You never arrive. Let it get inside your spirit and influence everything you do and say.
God is too glorious and there’s too much to be done for us to waste time on our egos. Let’s love and lead with all our hearts.
How about you? How are you training your young worship leaders?