Leading Worship and Biblical Counseling

If you lead worship, you may not think of yourself as a biblical counselor. Maybe that should change.

Last month I had the joy of leading the singing at the CCEF conference. While I was there David Powlison asked if we could chat about the relationship between singing congregationally and biblical counseling.

There are a number of ways those two activities don’t seem connected. We sing with a group, while biblical counseling usually involves 2-4 people. You don’t normally counsel people with music. You just talk about issues. Counseling is interactive, while in corporate worship the communication is generally from the leader to the congregation.

But the more I’ve thought about what I do when I lead songs of worship, the more I’ve realized my goals are similar to a biblical counselor. I’m pastoring people through songs. As a counselor might do, I’m seeking to inform minds, affect emotions, and influence wills in a Christ-exalting direction. I’m just using music and the Word to do it.

All this has a lot to do with what songs we choose at Christmas. We want to sing songs that give people real hope in a real Savior.

Here are two clips from our conversation that spell out more of the connections. As I listen to this, I can’t help feeling I should have just let David do all the talking.

First Video Quotes:
“A worship leader should never say, “Sing it like you mean it.” We should always mean it.”
“People walk in every Sunday with the problem that everything in their lives has become bigger than God.”
“The worship leader links heart-stirring music with biblical truth…to let the Word of Christ dwell in people richly.”
“Pay attention to the syntax of hymns. Some are about God, drawing our hearts toward Him. Others are unto God, giving our faith direct expression to God.”
“Counseling needs to do more than analysis and problem-solving; it needs to evoke the thing it seeks to create.”
“Biblical counseling is worship, and repentance, and faith, and hearing and loving and needing God…”


Second Video Quotes:
“In both counseling and worship we can rely on technique and forget that all we have is Christ.”
“Leading worship is a pastoral function before it’s a musical one.”
“Way more often than we imagine, people need reminding, not informing.”
“The world in which we counsel is the same world in which we worship & pray.”
“The word ‘technique’ is actually offensive in ministry.”   

Previous articleThe Christmas Fraud
Next articleOne Day’s Wages
Bob Kauflin
Bob Kauflin currently has the privilege of serving as the Director of Worship Development for Sovereign Grace Ministries. © Sovereign Grace Ministries. WorshipMatters.com. Used by permission.