Tag Archives: Worship Leaders

Keep Your Eyes Open

NOW FEb 2014

Read this quote from Lorie King: “Keep your eyes open. Watch the congregation. Shocking, I know. In order to lead well, however, you need to know what’s going on around you. You may notice that people aren’t singing along, but rather look confused or perplexed (or bored). Hmm…maybe they don’t know the song? Maybe they don’t know they’re supposed to be singing? You can invite them to sing with a statement like, “Now that you know it, let’s sing that again together,” or simply “Let’s sing that truth/prayer together again.” You have not only let them know that participation is encouraged and expected, but you’ve pointed them to the content and substance of what is going on.”

I agree – and I mean it literally. Keep your eyes open. If you are leading, it doesn’t mean making music with your eyes closed. It’s not your private time of worship – you are leading, and that means interacting with the people you are leading. It’s easy to hide behind closed eyes – I’ve done it many a time. Every so often it’s appropriate, but not as your norm. And now…stepping down from the soapbox… : )


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Communication vs. Manipulation

Any time that you deal with people, things get messy…

There really is a fine line between communication and manipulation – actually, a very blurry fine line, if that’s even possible. In fulfilling our job to lead worship (to really help people engage in worship), there are two primary schools of thought. Let me use their extreme examples to highlight the difference. One is the “I’m worshipping God privately here, and everyone can watch me doing that, and that that will inspire them to do the same, because I’m so worshipful.” The other is the “I’m a worship cheerleader, hey I can’t hear you, you’re not singing loud enough, hey, I’m talking to you, person in the 5th row!”

I don’t have the perfect answer. I’ve headed too far in both of those directions at various times over the years, but my gut feeling is that there really needs to be a balance. It’s kind of a representation of the Great Commandment and the Great Commission, if you will – a call to worship God above all, and a call to care for those around us. It also is a call to be a part of a community. I really am kind of distressed how attached to our gadgets we are, and how alone we can be, even in the midst of a crowd… Worship in community – praising God, encouraging each other – is better than that. It’s good for our, souls, and is just – well – right.

We need to communicate God’s love to each other, to support each other, and to help each other walk away from our pain, temptations, weaknesses and hardships (even our boredom). This takes worship leaders who will look us in the eye and show God’s love, all while actually showing love back to God. Not put on a show (i.e.. manipulate), even though everything in our culture pushes us in that direction. Not close off the world, because that locks out the very people God wants us to show His love to. It’s not easy to get it right. In fact, it’s impossible to do without God. But we all need real worship leading – and leaders – desperately.

Raised Hands


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Treat Your Soundpeople Right

Treat your sound people right! Here’s one quick tip to help that to happen – have one person communicate from the platform/stage to the soundboard. At our campus, it’s the worship leader. If someone needs something, they relay that need to the worship leader (who filters the ask to see if it really is a need and not a “diva-type” request). The worship leader then relays the ask to the sound person (respectfully), and the situation is worked on until it’s done. This helps to make sure that there aren’t multiple requests coming from the stage at once, and that issues are resolved before moving forward. Here’s a link to an article which will help the worship leaders among us to walk in the shoes of our soundpeople – I don’t agree with everything here, but there’s a lot of truth.   (click here)



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Creative Planning: Balance, Pt. II

Part two of our discussion on balance…

And today’s issue is:

WORSHIP: How do we go about balancing contemplation with celebration? As Christians, we seek to grow in our faith by being in a relationship with God. But, like any relationship, we share joy together about the good things. Then, we speak more seriously about the things that aren’t so good – both inside and outside of us.

As we learn more about God, it becomes clear how unlike us He is. We are sinful – He’s not. We need – He doesn’t. And so on… We learn what He wants of us, and how to take (baby) steps in His direction. We see how serious this business is, so we sing songs of confession and remorse, songs of pleading and humble supplication.

But, as I said before, being in a relationship with God does not just mean learning about Him – I can know all about someone, but if I’ve never met them or communicated with them, we have no relationship. This particular relationship is one where the other One in it with us is responsible for every good that has ever been in our lives (even our very existence). That’s worth celebrating! So we do the uptempo songs, songs about joy and gratitude.

It’s easy to over-focus on one or the other. I think a lot of worship leaders tend to want to stay in the more intimate mode, because they equate intimate with more spiritual. That’s where the real depth is, right? Here’s the problem… By doing that, it sometimes easy to get lost in ourselves, rather than God. The focus becomes OUR pain and OUR problems and OUR feelings. We forget how great God really is. So don’t forget to celebrate our incredible God!!! We need both sides of the relationship – a full relationship.



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As a leader, my biggest pet peeve is lateness. Being able to be on time is part of what it means to be a responsible adult. I ESPECIALLY hate lateness if the musicians are paid. A side note here… We will occasionally pay musicians – but only if they make their living by playing music. For a paid player, unless there’s a REALLY good reason (ie. hospitalization), a no show/no call means 1 strike and you’re out. Lateness will get a warning, and then the 2nd time, suspension from the team. With volunteers, we’ll be slightly more lenient, but not much. That may seem harsh, but here’s why…

There are too many people depending on the players being there to allow lateness. If 25 other tech and worship team members manage to be on time, it’s not fair to them to hold the whole process for someone who regularly forgets to set their alarm. Being late basically says to everyone that “My time and issues are important, and yours aren’t.” We have 4500-5000 people in our church on any given weekend – multiply those people by an hour and 15 minutes each of time in the service, and lateness has the potential to mess things up in a big way.

The trick is determining what the Christ-like response is. If someone has a spotless record, but then has an issue because they have a sick child, or something like that, I’m not going to go ballistic. As long, that is, as there’s a call so that we can make changes if they are needed. Only the most severe emergencies prevent a phone call…

What I’ve found is that a problem with lateness is usually tied to a sense of entitlement. Some folks would love to be a part of the worship team, as long as it doesn’t cramp their lifestyle. It’s up to me as a leader to help these folks see that there really is a lot riding on what they do as team members – and to protect the other members of the team (and the congregation) from those that would abuse their time and trust.

Everyone has a choice – we don’t force anything on anyone. People can be late. That’s OK. They just can’t be consistently late and be on our worship team…


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Worship Interactions

“Instead of playing at them, play to them.” – John Standefer

Worship is for God. We don’t worship people. We don’t worship music (hopefully). But we have a responsibility as worship team leaders/members to help the folks in our churches to engage in worship. That means interaction.

I’ve heard a phrase many times that goes something like: “Just worship God – the people can come along if they choose to.” The core of that idea is true (The Great Commandment), but it ignores the fact that God calls us into relationships not only with Him, but with each other (The Great Commission).

Interactions are essential in worship leading. We started having our worship team interact with the congregation before the services begin, and it’s clearly good stuff. More on this to come, I would guess…  :  )

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Posted by on September 12, 2012 in Worship Team


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Suitable For All Ages

Soapbox Time…
One of the sins of the American church is ageism. I’ve seen it take a couple of forms. The most common is the mid-20’s to early-30’s young hipster worship leader, surrounded by a band of similarly young and hip players and singers. Less common, but also there, is the aging worship leader that only draws similarly aging team members (or has been playing with the same team for so long that it has become an exclusive club).
I would suggest a middle road – a team that reflects the entire body of Christ. We work hard to be intentional about having diversity on the team. Many churches get the importance of racial diversity, and many get gender diversity, but not that many (in my experience) get age diversity. I love seeing a 60-year-old percussionist standing next to a 22-year-old guitarist. Maturity and energy meet in a really good way. And don’t mistake me – I’m not pushing diversity as a politically-correct buzzword. I’m pushing it because God created us in diverse ways, and at diverse times, and that should be celebrated!

Or maybe I’m just getting older…  :  )


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