Worship is a serious matter when it comes to man’s relationship with God. The main purpose of man’s existence is to worship God. Jesus emphasized the fact that God is searching for those who will worship him in spirit and truth. John 4:23. One of the purposes of God for establishing the church is for people to gather and give him quality worship. But just like the statement of John Maxwell that “everything rises and falls on leadership”. So, the role of the worship leader is of high importance if this unique purpose of God for the Church will be fulfilled.
When the worship leader loses focus, it affects the move of God in the entire church. Because people can only follow him in the direction he leads. A worship leader provides the unified leadership and thereby providing the unified followership. He provides a single leadership. He or she stands to lead the people in praise and worship. (Having more than one praise worship leader, is not usually very good it tends to distract). He helps to stir the course of a section in the church service.
He or she helps to usher the people into God’s presence. He also serves as an anchor or middle point between the back-up singers and the musicians. He must be able to communicate very well with the people, the backups, and the musicians. He stands like a conductor. You need to be able to carry the people along and be very sensitive. He also chooses the songs for the service.
Desirable Qualities In Worship Leaders
A worship leader should have these desirable qualities:
A worship leader must know God and have a cordial relationship with him. Jesus in John 4:22 challenged the Samaritan woman that: you worship who you don’t know”. Worshiping someone you don’t know will be an error. Samuel was serving the God he never knew. 1 Samuel 3:7. So he could not recognize his voice when he called him. Your relationship with God matters if your role as a worship leader will be effective. You can’t lead people to someone you don’t know. Work on your relationship with God.
A worship leader must be musically oriented. He should have a good sense of tonality; he should be able to maintain his or her key. If you have to stand as a worship leader or even a chorister, you should be musically able to do what is supposed to be done. If you don’t have a good sense of rhythm you may begin to clash with the drummer. It is important to have a very sharp sense of rhythm. Music is an art. Music is a bit controversial, it has two main parts: The art and The Act: a means of expression or ministration.
The worship leader must be a good student of the word. This is important because you need to know the songs you are singing, maybe it is scripturally balanced or not. It helps you to stand before the people and lead them.
A worship leader must be submissive not only to God but also to the constituted authority. There is a connection between music and arrogance. Therefore, worship leaders must consciously work on this aspect.
A worship leader must be able to work in a group. If you cannot work in a group, then you cannot lead. You need to know how to cooperate with people, though working in a group could be very tasking you have to be understanding, have patience, among so many other things. Even not only to your back-ups and musician but also to the people.
A worship leader should have a good reputation in the church not just before God but before men. The way the people see you will determine the way they will receive your ministration. If you have to stand in that kind of reverent position, then you have to have a good reputation before the people. You are a minister in the church, this is very important.
A worship leader must be bold. You may be naturally shy but you just need to pray about it and work on it if you will stand before the people. Be bold in your introduction when the choir is about to minister.
A Worship leader must have Communication skills. This is very important, so many worship leaders lack the skills required in leading. A worship leader may be able to sing, have a good voice but cannot communicate. This is more than just speaking. Some people use to think that when a pastor tells a congregation to stand up, people tend to respond well than when it was a praise and worship leader who tells them to do so. But I do not believe in that, what is the pastor doing that you cannot do? Therefore, we should try to learn
Many people come to church with a very heavy heart, therefore you must be able to bring them out of their shells and help them to loosen up. A method is to allow them to loosen up is by telling them to greet the people sitting next to them. A worship leader should be able to affect the emotions of the people.
A worship leader must have a good praying life. Prayer, thanksgiving, praise, and worship are inter-connected or interwoven. Someone that has a poor prayer life will find it very difficult to lead worship. A worship leader must cultivate a strong and effective prayer life.
A worship leader must have a good relationship with the Pastor, though it is quite controversial it is very important and it is the truth. The fact remains, we as worship leaders should be careful of the spirit of Lucifer. The Pastor is the Godhead in the church from which the anointing flows. A worship leader that has a poor relationship with the Pastor will find it very difficult to lead and it will affect the ministry.
Your pastor is a God sent man, God has chosen and must be respected. You have to be connected to him to have your fair share of the anointing. Though the pastor cannot take the position, he is still the head. It is not just in greeting him face to face, but it is in respect, honor, and regard you give him even behind him. God has placed the pastor as the head then you need to give him the due respect. Don’t do things that he doesn’t want you to do. Always keep to the time you are given to lead the praise and worship.
Points About Choice of Songs
Scriptural relevance, it should have spiritual content. It should focus on God, focus on the spiritual lives of the people. It should have scriptural bases, brings people attention to God, and talks about the magnitude and greatness of God.
Cultural relevance: be sensitive to know your congregation, be sensitive to what their state of mind is, and their emotions. You should not just do things because you like it. The mind is the gateway to the heart, what doesn’t appeal to the mind will not get to the heart. You have to understand it. Your target is the heart when you stand to minister but the mind must receive it before it gets to the heart. You have to be careful about the songs you choose.
Praise and worship is a business between the man and the creator. Most people are now composing and releasing praise and worship album because it is selling fast but this is very wrong. You have to be careful in the songs you sing, look at the lyrics, scriptural, and spiritual content. Please also note the followings:
First and foremost, before anything, rely on the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God knows all things. Sometimes the direction you want to go is not where the Holy Spirit wants you to go. The Holy Spirit will tell you things you need to know about leading the people. As simple as it sounds just make a list of songs and invite the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will direct in some things you think is not important.
Make sure that your songs have a rhythmic agreement. These could be very difficult for someone that has a poor sense of rhythm. Do not do songs that have contrasting rhythm because it throws everybody off balance (distraction). Make sure it agrees and flows together.
Your songs should have a tonal agreement. i.e similar key or the same key. Some people usually say a key is usually convenient for them, but the issue of key may be confusing. If it is too high you will lose your voice, and if it is too low you will not be able to project. Therefore, you need to check this out during your rehearsals. There is no universal key for anybody, you cannot say key F is okay for my voice, it could be okay for your voice in a particular song, and in the next song, it could be too high for some songs that have a wide range.
Some praise worship leaders find it difficult to see that a song has momentum. Make sure your songs go in a particular direction as you build up a momentum. Usually, in praise, some songs have lower momentum than others. So choose songs that are of lower momentum to start with, then songs that have higher momentum should follow. For example, you may start with songs of confession; that may bring people out of their shells and from then build it up into songs of praise. You are taking your people from one stage to another so you have to arrange your list in such a way to fall in order.
Tips on Leading Praise & Worship
Be prompt. If you have just 10mins to lead people in praise and worship, in such a short time, plan your list of songs to fall within that range. When you have time constraints do not start your praise/worship list with the song(s) you cannot build to climax within the period you were given. Make sure you don’t exceed the time you were given.
Be natural. Be yourself. Don’t imitate anybody. Your effectiveness will maximize if you do things the way you are. You don’t have to quote scriptures before you minister to the people, go straight to your songs.
A worship leader should be a person that lives a life of a true worshipper both in conducts, actions, and speech before coming to lead the people.
Don’t flood your praise and worship sessions with too many songs. When you take a song you should allow the song to be exhausted before you change it. Let the meaning sink into the heart of the people.
You have to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and trust Him to lead you always and teach you what to do.
You must have a sense of direction; you must have a goal.
Do not abuse the congregation verbally or vocally. This is very important. No matter how desperate you are, make sure you respect them.
Don’t talk too much because you might end up distracting the people.
If worship leaders play their role effectively, the worship service will be what God want it to be. And the move of God will be constant in the church.