I am critical by nature. Guilty as charged. I’m (still) learning that most of the things I’m critical about are just my preference. This post is one such example.
Let’s talk about worship. My first thoughts are that worship will look different in many churches, and I personally think that’s okay. As long as Jesus is exalted, I’m cool. But there are some things about worship that drive me nuts and should be addressed (please note that these are not about any specific church I’ve attended). So here are 4 suggestions for worship leaders from a non-worship leader.
1. Be professional. As pastors challenge their members to use their gifts for God, please do the same. God has gifted you to lead worship. Make sure it is done well. This includes chords, lighting, tuning, timing, etc. When I’m at church, I shouldn’t be thinking, “Did they even practice this week?”
2. Check your levels. I’m okay with loud music. But I personally don’t think it should be so loud that it drowns out the audience. We worship together to glorify God but also to edify each other. Edification will be greatest when I can hear others (and myself!). And whatever the volume, all the worship team should be leveled with each other. In other words, the alto should not be louder than the lead.
3. Plan and practice transitions. When you pick out music, you should keep in mind how you will get to the next song. Does it require a chord progression? Will you talk in between? Any Bible verses or prayers? Plan it all. If you plan your transitions, not only does it keep the service flowing, but it also keeps you from talking too much. I’m not sure what it is, but sometimes worship leaders (with all good intentions) start talking between songs (while the audience is standing) and 8 minutes later no one is listening to you because they’re too busy rubbing out a cramp in their leg.
4. Stop performing. I don’t think very many worship leaders think they’re performing, but test yourself with this: If you’re singing and the audience isn’t, you may have crossed the line from leading worship to performance. This would include a run on a chorus that varies from how you normally sing it. It also includes singing so high that you would bring down the Crystal Cathedral. You may think you’re leading worship, but it just comes across as showing off. So listen while you lead. If no one else is singing, there’s a problem.
Of course, they may have passed out from standing so long, but I digress.