One of the themes I am seeing around the blogosphere and on posting boards is the idea a worship leaders job is to simply worship. People will either follow or not but it’s not the responsibility of the worship leader.
I couldn’t disagree more.
Though there is some truth to the notion that we can’t make people follow and we definitely can’t make people worship however; the idea that the leaders job is simply to stand and worship in front of people couldn’t be more wrong.
Our job as leaders begins well before we stand on the platform in front of the congregation. Every situation is different and we need to make sure we are seeking God for what He wants to say to His people. When were in leadership we must consider every revelation or communication from the Lord as to whether it is for us or for the people we are leading.
We must live in the secret place. Seeking Him and His desire for His people. Leading worship is not about choosing 5 songs in the same key or chord family. It’s not about doing what were, necessarily, comfortable with. It’s about going to the mountain and hearing God’s heart for His people.
After spiritual preparation it’s about preparing your craft. Whether it’s an instrument, your vocal, a video, a congregational reading, or whatever we must prepare ourselves. Remember we must be about excellence not perfection. Excellence is about offering our best not being perfect or even the best.
When we show up to the service we should invite the Holy Spirit to ruin our preparation. We should have been listening to Him through our preparation but it is so critical to invite Him to disrupt the service. Make it clear to Him and the worship team that we are going to go with Him wherever He goes.
Finally when we stand on the platform in front of those who Jesus bought with His own blood, those who He loves so much He would rather die than be without, we must engage them. We must draw them into the secret place with us. Not by manipulating emotions but by being genuine, leading them to the throne and then getting out of the way. Having been with Jesus we should know where they are and what He has given us to say to them should connect with them right away.
I understand sometimes it’s hard work. There is an enemy who knows the power of God’s people in unity worshiping the living God and is actively at work to disrupt that activity. I am not saying if we follow the right formula everything will work. Sometimes it doesn’t. But if it doesn’t it’s not because we weren’t prepared and haven’t done everything within our control to make sure it does work.
Eddie Espinosa says “worshiping in front of a congregation is like eating a 5 course meal in front of starving people”.
Leading worship is about going somewhere and taking as many as will come with us. This is not a passive activity but a very engaging, purposeful, passionate activity. We cannot take responsibility for how “good” the worship was but we must take responsibility for being prepared and engaging God’s people.
Please don’t embrace false humility in any form but especially when it comes to the responsibility of leading God’s people in worship.