How To Lead Worship | Top 10 Pieces of Advice For New Worship Leaders

Following on from today's worship blog post about mentoring I thought it would be good to pool our knowledge and help new worship leaders out.

What 10 (or less) pieces of advice would you give to someone who is just about to start leading worship for the first time, or someone who has only been doing it for a few months or so?

Share your quotes, thoughts and wisdom below and I will then compile them into a blog - similar to what we did with the "101 Worship Leader Myths".


N.B. I've now compiled and published this list on the WTR blog: How To Lead Worship | 101 Tips For New Worship Leaders

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Always remember that you are up before God's people to worship HIM as an Audience of One.
The anointing comes on what is sung, played, WHEN God is truly pleased. He then finds what has been offered truly acceptable and then comes onto inhabit what is given up unto Him.

This is in remarkable contrast to what an awful lot of PRAISE and worship and MINISTRY is in so many groups. So, training and discernment is greatly needed.
And in many churches, Clock Worship is what mainly hinders true Father God real worship. And the senior pastor must also take much of the ownership for how HE /SHE releases those leading worship to fully obey the move of the inward witness of the Holy Spirit. Many do not want to understand that for those who come to fully get all the worries, pressures and problems off their human minds, that God's Spirit must have enough time to penetrate the religoius, weary often care filled hurried mindsets that God's people bring in. If there is no knowledge of the move of God's Spirit and if the leaders are afraid of giving up 'control' to the Living Lord (But Whose Service is it supposed to be anyway?) then when God really does start to deliver and touch those who are oppressed, etc, the service reins are nearly always pulled back as if whoever is in charge knows more about setting people free than God the Maker of those same people Himself.
Dr Taveau you made some interesting points here. Whilst I understand the time constraints of a service, I think it's important for Senior Pastors to work WITH the team to understand what the Holy Spirit might be doing at any one time. There needs to be order and a sense of 'structure' to our meetings - but there is also a certain unpredictability that comes with leading for both the Senior Pastor AND the worship leader. Sometimes, what a pastor has spent the last 5 weeks trying to teach, suddenly gets summed up in one song's message - and then it's like a watershed moment, where the breakthrough is tangible, and all the people 'get' it, all at once and the Holy Spirit moves in, and their hearts open up to God - and the worship is lifted to another level....Sometimes, the Spirit pours Himself out during one or two songs, and literally, for that service, it's all you need, even if you have prepared 6!

These moments are beautiful - and whilst they may not occur every week, sometimes, their infrequency is more due to OUR schedules and not at all because the Spirit isn't willing. Sadly, these types of experiences are lacking in most UK churches, because the mentality is so different. We are far too conscious of wanting people to be pleased and comfortable and to not 'waste their time' - and worship becomes performance and production, instead of conversation to God. Yet when I lead worship in our churches in India or Africa it's ALL about God and the people praising Him whilst hearing what He has to say back to them. One of the the Holy Spirit's roles is to bring us wisdom, revelation and understanding of those mysteries we don't understand - but we must work with Him and not against Him in order for that to happen. Mmmm...Selah on that!
1. It is not your job to lead people into the presence of God. Your job is to follow Jesus, by the Holy Spirit, into the presence of God.
2. Your music is for an audience of One.
3. Be a humble servant.
4. Lead with authority.
5. Be a creative communicator.
6. Be Spirit led.
7. Don't be afraid of mistakes.
8. Your life must reflect the songs you sing, and the songs you sing must reflect the life you live.
9. The quality of the music and the size of the band have nothing to do with how "good" the worship is.
10. Whether you eat or drink, or whatever else you do, do it all for the glory of God.
#9 I especially like but who could convince anyone else to believe it, certainly not in my church.
It's beacuse we live in a culture of entertainment. I dont think most people know what is or how to worship.
It must be taught. Worship is of the heart. Relationship. If we have that then we have the first building block for successful cooperate worship. However, the people of God must be taught.
Even "closer", worship must be 'caught' People will not worship if the leader is not, blunt and honest.
while I completely respect your #1 answer and the spirit with which (i think) it was written, I have a qualifier: I believe it is our responsibility to teach people to respond to their circumstances by worshiping.

I think it's possible to passionately engage a congregation to the power of the Holy Spirit when we lovingly take them by the arm and guide them to this response.
I've been pondering your #1 for a while....but just have to say that I disagree. But only with the first part. Because I DO think that is our role, even with our Audience of One as our focus, we still have been put in the place of ushering others into God's presence with us. So really, I see it as this:
Our job is to follow Jesus, by the Holy Spirit, into the presence of God, opening the path for the congregation to follow along with us.
We must be careful with our theology. Worship leaders can't and will never be able to usher anyone into God's presence. 1 Timothy says: "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men." No man can ever do what Christ has already accomplished. We are never out of His presence, so while I agree that our role is to follow Jesus through the power of the Spirit and to lead in the worship, it is just that, to lead and encourage by example, whether through singing, prayer, silence, etc.
We need to teach about worship and then to model what that looks like.
hello i do really like your post about worship specially number8, i just dont exactly understand number 1.i thought its our job to lead people in the presence of God when we start to lead in worship new worship leader and i do really want to be trained and to be use by God in this ministry.pls rply is needed.thanks.
I can see that point number 1 has caused some controversy... maybe I should clarify my thinking on this. Before Jesus' death and resurrection there was only one person who could enter the presence of God: a chosen priest who would enter the Holy of Holies where the presence of God dwelt. Before entering he would have to perform cleansing rituals and then hide himself within a screen of smoke and incense, in order to avoid being totally consumed by the Holiness of the presence of God.

Jesus death tore the veil that separated God from the us, both literally in terms of the Temple curtain, and figuratively in that sin, as a barrier to God, was removed.

As a worship leader, we do not have to strive to find new ways to lead people into the presence of God. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus. We are all apprentices of Jesus and as such should try to learn from Him and how he worshiped.

Luke's gospel is a great gospel to read in terms of learning about Jesus worship life, but in summary, Jesus was a humble servant, who communicated creatively in a way that people could understand and was relevant to them. He led with authority and was fully reliant on the Holy Spirit.

Our job is to follow Jesus example. We cannot lead people into the presence of God. Only Jesus can do this. All we can do is try to follow Jesus in everything we do, pointing people's eyes towards Him so that they may follow Jesus into the Presence of God.

If you would like to learn more about this, then I highly recommend a book called: "How Would Jesus Lead Worship?" by Sam and Sara Hargreaves, available from A great, theologically sound book, with great examples of how to do the things I've been talking (?) about!

Hope this helps.



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