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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#9 is genius...and should be #1 for everyone! I've been reading all these comments wondering when someone was going to say it. It's the one concept I keep in the forefront of my mind all throughout the week...and especially when the alarm goes off in the early morning hours before dawn on a Sunday morning...
1. First and foremost "guard your heart and your intimate time with the Saviour". Don't let the work of the ministry, the need, distract you from that which is most important. Be a person of the secret place. Psalm 27:4,8
2. Followed closely in second place by "remember people are your purpose". You are a signpost, a conduit for the presence of God to minister to His people. Acts 20:28
3.Leading worship is not worshiping in front of people. Your job is to lead them. Take them where you have already been. To the feet of Jesus.
4.Your worship set should grow out of your own personal worship time. Don't just choose songs that go together.
5. Be a student of the Word, always
6. Have a love for the Bride.
7. stay submitted to the Sr. Pastor
8. Pursue excellence not perfection
9. Be relational to your team, to the congregation, and to the staff
10. Always polish your craft, you are never "there"
I think that within leading you have to give the whole package to the congregation. The unchurched is going to look for every flaw that there is or possibly could be. Go in with the preparation of looking good, sounding well prepared, and be confident in who you are in Christ. Know who you are minisering to...if it is an older majority of people, they are not going to take you serious if you walk in with a hoodie and some tore up skinny jeans. If it is more of a young adult crowd you might not want to walk in with a three piece get it...Jesus met whoever he was going to talk to where they were at. Let's not give the world any more excuses or preconcieved ideas as to who we are not,unrelational,stuffy,religious,hippy fanatics...lets give them Jesus. The best way we can present this is to know and identify who we are ministering to....we do live in this world together, we know what goes on and we can be relational without being of the world. For me I know that we live in a society that is so audibly and visually stimulated...and lets face it all things are from God. But I think we as a church have lacked in tapping in to that creativity thinking..."thats of the world...we can't use those kinds of lights...we can't play those kinds of songs.." Instead of trying to stay in the curve of society, I would challenge those worship LEADERS, to create the curve. Lets face it we have the CREATOR on our side...what more do we need. Thats all in the preparation of things...when you get up on stage and get that all out of the way before hand, then its a lot easier to go up and lead. I've always kept this in mind...the best leaders lead by must, let me rephrase, you should always allow yourself to worship when leading...people aren't stupid, they know when it's just a preformance, so give them the real thing, what we are all created to do show them worship by worshiping our amazing King....
I am not a worship leader, but have done the tech end. My $0.02 would be:

1. Know (and be accountable to)Thy Pastor.
2. Form relationships: Start off w/ a barbeque or whatever and invite everybody (pastor, musicians, vocalists, fader jockeys, etc.) and get to know them. Consistently schedule non-church time with them. You will not regret it.
3. Actively seek input from team members: ideas, suggested material, etc.
4. Require attendance at practice(s) as a prerequisite to service, regardless of giftedness.
5. Don’t add anybody to the team who you have not established a relationship with. It is easier to add folks to the team than to dismiss them.
6. Learn to run the tech side (sound & video) with your new tech team. It is SO much easier to communicate your needs when you have an understanding of the particular system, and the language to support it.
7. Plan ahead: If your tech team knows who is playing, and your frontal people know which songs will likely be covered, the set-up is done ahead of time and the frontal folks can practice individual parts and harmonies beforehand.
8. Actively direct / arrange: Many worship leaders do not articulate what they want, but expect everybody to just know. Also, establish a set of signs to guide your team know what you are going to do next.
9. Establish discipleship: Mentor somebody, expect your team to mentor others, have nights of worship where folks can bring instruments and play with each other. Mentor small group worship leaders. Have small group leaders mentor others.
10. Be real
Phil, glad to share. One of the things the Lord has put on our hearts is to turn around and see who's coming up. Encourage, pour into them what God has poured into you. So, this is right up my alley.
1A. Don't do it if you're just singing songs. Pray for the Holy Spirit to not only come, but MOVE! He will, He's faithful.
1. Use what you've got! If you're new, chances are the team is new as well and you probably don't have all the pieces yet. Just use what you've got and watch what God does.
2. Less is More! Too often, we can replace "excellent" with "loud".
3. Listen, MORE then play. If you're not listening, you're playing too much.
4. Worship with "recognizable" songs. Don't teach too many new songs. Maybe 1 or 2 a month. And then do that song the next week and again a few weeks later to solidify it.
5. Hearts on fire, minds on ice! Don't let your passion for Jesus overide your abilities. You CAN do both, have passion and play within your ability. That works best.
6. Above all, Boost only in what Christ can, and is doing. Not what you are. Try this when people give you praise, say, Thank you, Praise God! In doing this, you're blessings the person for seeing the gifts God has placed in you and you're "deflecting" the praise up to God where it rightfully belongs. You don't want to absorbe any of it, It's Toxic!~! Remember, you can do nothing on your own. But through Christ, "All things are possible".
Praise God, Stan Leisle <>/body>
Worship through the songs in your own personal time before you use them, make them your own, and read the words through as a prayer. I always find this helps me prepare.
know what you believe and why you believe it. Know what you want to do and know why you want to do it.
Not really a top ten, so much as a first things I think of list.

1) No matter how busy you are at your role, concentrate on worshiping. This is the part you will be modeling to the congregation.
2) Don't let talent overshadow other weighty characteristics when choosing your team. There's probably enough explanation on this thread about this one.
3) Consistent tempo is way more important than being flashy.
4) You will get tired of songs way faster than your congregation, because you presumably listen to worship music a lot. Don't avoid playing songs two weeks in a row, especially newly introduced ones. Let your congregation get to know the songs well, so they can focus on God. As a side note, don't bring in songs you're only going to do once because it matches the sermon.
5) Stay humble and pray for unity often. Prayer will go a lot further than trying to talk people into unity.
6) Don't start all your fast songs at the volume ceiling. Leave room for dynamic lifts.
7) Have capo versions of the chord sheets for songs in guitar unfriendly keys. (e.g. C#m could become Bm Capo 2). This is a great tool for transposing:
8) Don't make big reactions to mistakes. The congregation may not notice the mistake, but see your negative facial expression.
9) Have an attitude of submission to your Pastor.
10) Get your team used to cues for verse, chorus, bridge, softer, louder, etc. so everyone knows where your going. If you've got your hands full with an instrument, do it vocally (It's fun to get good at becoming melodic about this).

Definitely would rearrange some of these, but hopefully I covered some new territory.
Mark, this is a fabulous list!!! Love number 4
Here are some great places besides Hillsong and Tomlin to find songs: Christ For The Nations, Brian & Jenn Johnson (Bethel Church of Redding), International House of Prayer, Kim Walker-Smith, Desperation Band.
TRU DAT!!!!! I totaly prefer Brian and Jen & IHOP to most Tomlin music.
Israel Houghton is another great worship artist!!! I'm a big fan of his!


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