Worship Leading

by  Pastor Gary Reed

Psalm 96: 8-9   Give to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering and come into His courts. Oh worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him all the earth.

1. True Worship –  We are to worship the Lord. In our ever increasing desire to have worship be relevant to today and contemporary, I fear that we may have begun to worship the worship, and not worship the Lord. I do enjoy the worship of today; there are a lot of really great worship songs written in the past decade. In my mind there is a difference between a real worship song and just a nice song about God.  A real worship song will lead you to be singing to Jesus or the Father. It would be something like “Jesus I love You”, or “Lord You are everything”.  A nice song would be about myself and that our God is good. These songs have a place in worship but I would only do one or two at most in a five song worship set. We need to come and say Jesus you are everything, You are great, You are awesome. This is true worship of our Lord.

Psalm 63: O God You are my God, early will I seek You, my soul thirsts for You , my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land.

2. The Worship leader – The worship leader of your church is the senior pastor. He is the one God has called to lead the congregation. You may be called and have the title of worship leader, but your pastor has the final say. If you are the person that is called to sing or play you, are called alongside your pastor to help lead the church to worship the Lord. Some pastors give the “worship leader” the freedom to pick the songs and some want to have an active role in picking the songs. If your pastor gives you the freedom to pick them, don’t be afraid to send him a list during the week. Be sensitive to the Holy spirits leading and also what your pastor is teaching on. Recently our church was hurting due to events going on in our world and nation. Our pastor’s heart was teaching on God’s faithfulness. I knew this and tried prayerfully to pick some songs that were appropriate, such as the hymn on Christ the solid rock I stand, and my hope is in You Lord. If your pastor asks you not to do a certain song because He may not agree on the theology brought forth in the song then you are to be willing to drop that song.

3. Style of worship – There are some churches that only do hymns or some that only do contemporary.  If you are a church that generally only does hymns be open to teaching your congregation a modern worship song every now and then. If you are a church that only does modern be open to teaching your church a old hymn or adding one a few times over a couple of months.  A few years ago I taught at a church that did multiple services, the early was more traditional and the latter contemporary. The leader may share or allow a team member to share a scripture, this helps with encouraging us in the Lord, but I would caution that you may want to keep it to short as to not get off track.

4. The worship team – Try to keep the worship team up to date on any new songs you may be working on through texts or emails or other communications. Give them a chance to check out the song before you practice it. Weekly practices are vital or a time to go over the worship list for the service. Listen to your team, many times my team has told me that I have done a song too many times in the past weeks. Sometimes the Lord puts a song on one of the team members hearts during the week and they text me or email me, I will try to add that song if possible to the list. Be open to their communication. Many of the songs today are in a really high key, your team leaders may have strong and trained voices to hit those notes but generally the congregation cannot, try lowering the key so all can enter into worship. Keep the key simple if possible D verses a D flat. Some songs really have to be done in a flat to be able to sing. Try to find a key that is in the middle if it goes from basement to ceiling in vocals. Your sound crew is part of your team. Proper training of sound team members is important. I would rather be able to hear the voices and words than instruments. Keep the voices over instruments. I have been to Christian concerts where the instruments were so loud that you couldn’t hear or understand the words to the songs. Keep the vocals clear so that everyone can understand what you are singing.

5. New songs – Psalm 98:1 Oh sing to the Lord a new song! New songs are important to keep worship fresh. I try to add a new song or two once a month. It usually takes the congregation a few weeks to pick up on a new song; you usually have to do it at least three weeks in a row to allow for learning of it. But usually after that it starts to be too much, let it go for a month and then bring it back after that some. Sometimes a song seems great and you are really excited to teach it but it doesn’t seem to work at all. Some of the newer songs are a bit complex with verses, choruses, and bridges. Try to keep it simple, maybe just do the verse and chorus and leave out the bridge at first then add over the next few weeks as the congregation learns the song. Mix it up with a few complex songs and some simple songs that are staple songs everyone knows. Worship flow is important, flowing from one song to another can be achieved by staying in same key as long as you have practiced it before and songs flow together. This allows time for just some instruments before staring into next song, time to be still before the Lord.

6. Other additions to worship – some churches may have dancers or flag wavers, there may be a place for this and we are not to judge how one worships the Lord. But as the leaders we don’t want it to become a talent act or show. I once had a young man on our worship team that wanted there to be a really strong lead guitar with the person kneeling on the floor in front with guitar high in the air. He argued there was nothing wrong with showmanship. I argued that we are to be focused on worshipping the Lord not on a person. There is a place for a guitar lead but only when the focus is on the Lord and not on the person doing the lead. I want people to leave church saying wow I met with God today and he met with me, not wow did you see that lead guitarist. We are commanded to praise the Lord with skilled instruments and worship should flow but only to glorify Him. Psalm 134:2 says we are to lift up our hands in the sanctuary and bless the Lord. It’s wonderful to see people lifting their hands to the Lord. Psalm 47:1 Clap your hands all you peoples! Shout to God with voices of triumph! For the Lord Most High is awesome. We are commanded to clap our hands in praise to the Lord. It is ok for us to give the Lord a round of applause. This also applies to clapping to the beat. Worship projection is great but not the be all and end all. Worship projection does add to the worship it gives some live back rounds that can enhance worship but again as long as it does help lead us to worship the Lord. Having the words to the songs is the biggest help. We use easy worship that has some great tools. There are some really great resources out there today, but the Holy Spirit is the one that fills us not our senses.

7. Worshipping while leading – while you are leading you may want to say the next line so everyone knows where you are heading. But while leading the team and the congregation allow yourself to worship the Lord. There are a lot of factors to keep in mind but that is why having some simple songs really help to allow us to be able to just worship the Lord. You should be entering into worship the Lord as you are leading but you should also be worshipping the Lord on your own during the week not just when you are up front. Sometimes unplugged worship is great and simple. Worship leading should be an outflow of your praise for the Lord continually.

Categories Worship | Tags: , , , | Posted on March 2, 2013

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