Part 2 of my friend Michael's posts on the role of a worship leader. It's really been beneficial reading for me to check my own heart and life. Am I lining up?
A good worship leader…
Has the ability to lead people. Leading worship requires leadership skills. It’s not all notes and guitars and chord charts. A worship leader needs to have people skills in order to lead a band. A worship leader needs to inspire people. I truly believe that if a person has the gift of leadership, then he could fill a variety of roles in church. How can a person lead a church in worship if he can’t lead his family or lead a small group, or lead a Bible study, or lead a meeting, or lead her friends. I’m not saying that all these things are required, but leadership isn’t just for administrators and pastors. As we look for a worship leader and explore different avenues, the ability to lead in general will be one of the qualities that rises to the top.
Has presence. Maybe this is the ability to not look dazed and confused in front of people. You can tell after a few minutes or a few chords if a worship leader has stage presence. You can work on this to a certain degree, but for the most part, you either have it or you don’t. Worship leaders with presence know how to stand before a crowd and shift the focus onto God. They make eye contact with people, not just have their own private worship moments on stage. That’s all well and good, but I want our lead worshipper to recognize the responsibility of leading people in worship. I don’t speak with my eyes closed.
Has talent. I know this won’t sound very spiritual but when it comes to leading worship, heart and passion are not enough. There are a lot of passionate singers and musicians who really want to make a difference who should not be singing and playing in public. I know everybody has to start somewhere. But good worship leaders posess a certain amount of talent. They learn from other worship leaders, go to concerts and get ideas, figure out how things are done, and practice. While it’s hard to teach presence, you can grow in this area.
Doesn’t talk too much. This may be a pet peeve of mine, but I also believe it can kill a service. There are times that a song requires an introduction, or when a worship leader needs to share thoughts on a subject. But that can’t happen before every song and during every break. For the most part, that’s just wasted time because people are checked out. People can only process so much. They can only listen to so much talking. There is a communicator who has put hours and hours into preparing a message. As a worship leader, you wouldn’t like it if the speaker got up to speak, picked up your guitar and launched into a few more worship songs.
Worship leaders are so crucial in the life of the church. It’s a crucial role. Some people judge a church by the quality of the music or the personality of the worship leader.