3 Things Every Worship Leader Should Do

By: Michael Boggs

October 8, 2013

7 Comments

Categories: ,

When I am preparing to lead worship, there are 3 things I think about.

Are the lyrics I'm leading biblical?

Are the words you're about to ask your congregation to sing along with actually true. I think this an important question that some worship leaders might overlook. Sometimes it's because we like the melody, the musical progression or the track sounds amazing. However, what separates Christian music from every other genre is WHAT we sing about. I think this puts an extra responsibility on worship leaders to make sure what we lead and what we read in the scriptures are the same.

Can the congregation sing this song?

I know part of our job as worship leaders is to make the song sound as best as we can. Sometimes, I think we innocently choose to lead songs in a key that sounds good in our range. However, I think our objective should be to lead songs in a key that is most comfortable for everyone to sing along with. I remember one time a friend of mine came to a worship event I was leading at. Because I value his opinion, I asked him what he thought of the worship time. In a respectful way he said these stinging words. "I wanted to sing along but I couldn't sing as high as you do. So I just stood and watched." My heart sank. Our goal in leading worship is not to sing for people but with people. Choose appropriate keys and help people sing with you.

Am I ready for worship?

The truth is that leading worship starts long before Sunday morning. Worship starts in your personal reading/study time. It continues when you sing/worship when no one else is around. I believe beautiful melodies are heard in heaven when you do things like, love those around you, care for the poor and are kind to those who might not be kind to you. Worship is expressed through songs we sing corporately, but that is not the extent of our worship. You are leading worship for something every moment you breathe. Have you ever thought about what you lead worship for on days other than Sunday?

Here's a prayer I pray often. God, help me not to just worship you with melodies and music but with my entire life.

What other tools should we as worship leaders consider before leading worship?

7 Comments

  •  
    Jesse Grisham

    October 8, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    Reply

    Very good thoughts here, Michael. These are exactly what I go through in my mind as well. I’ve often repeated the saying to myself, “A man cannot lead where he is unwilling to go,” in context of worship leading. The worship leading begins long before the stage. If we can enter into true worship and not just go through the motions, then those we lead can go right to worship and not just go through the motions.
    It isn’t about our comfort, but about the effectiveness with which we lead God’s people (not “our fans”) to worship Him. The better we can set that up through theologically sound lyric selection, key selection, and personal prayer and preparedness, the easier and closer people will be able to worship.
    Thanks for this post, and for causing me to again think about why it is I do what I do. God bless.

  •  
    Michael Boggs

    October 8, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Reply

    Great thoughts Jesse! Thanks for your comments! May the Lord bless your Monday through Saturdays as well as your Sundays.

  •  
    Phil

    October 9, 2013 at 1:37 am

    Reply

    I agree with everything posted! Great stuff that I have definitely found to be true in my own worship leading experience.

    I strongly believe the worship leader should lead people on a seamless, logically thought-thru journey (of sorts)…to a destination of engagement, openness, intimacy, and submission. Too many take their congregations on a wild good chase filled with the wrong (untimely) feel, lyrics (mixed themes and focus), and keys.

    For example, as much as we may be tempted, starting off a worship service with a very introspective song with lots of blood references can short circuit the process and exclude those people who need to peel off a few layers of their onion first. They’re typically not ready to get up close and personal with God right out of the parking lot. The top of the worship “funnel” should be more “we about/to God” songs that are engaging and encourage involvement. The next song or two (or three or more) should lead them from a “we (or me) about/to God” (horizontal) to a “me to God” (vertical) experience that challenges them to draw near to God, and soften their human spirits to be more receptive to the Holy Spirit of God.

    Louder/faster songs should be pitched to help people sing out. Softer/slower songs should not be pitched too high, but keyed for a more meditative, personal approach.

    As the worship gathering progresses, lyrics should help people focus on a main idea or point; move from generic to specific. In my opinion, too many different themes and directions can confuse the congregation.

    Michael, it is obvious that you step through this process when you lead worship…at least from my seat on the piano bench. SO glad to call you friend and partner in ministry. Yeah baby!

    •  
      Michael Boggs

      October 9, 2013 at 2:35 pm

      Reply

      Thanks Phil. I appreciate your kind words here. It’s important for all of us to remember that during corporate worship, we are tasked to sing with people, not for people. Great observations sir. Go “Buck”eyes…

  •  
    Melanie

    October 9, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Reply

    Michael..as a Children’s Music Coordinator and Children’s Worship Leader…I too follow these 3 things. It is very important to pass these along to all we also place into these roles. It is so much more than just getting up and singing……….

  •  
    Chelley Odle

    October 16, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Reply

    Awesome Word Michael!

    One thing I always think about is “Do I believe the lyrics that I am singing?”
    How do I and/or the congregation identify with these lyrics?
    Follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost…
    Its ok to have fun and smile and interact with other singers.. I think sometimes our congregation needs to know that we enjoy what we have been called to do and that we love each other and support each other in our ministry. (I’m not saying put on a show here, but simply Its OK to like and enjoy what you do)

    I, personally, believe that P&W is the most important part of each service. (Some may disagree with me here) The reason I feel that way is because our jobs and P&W Leaders is to 1. Usher in the presence of GOD 2. Worship prepares the hearts and minds of the people to receive the WORD that is preached. If their hearts and minds are not prepared, then they will not be in a place to receive, which will not bring change.

    Much love,
    Chelley

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