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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1) Be prepared. Get your set lists done early. My list is finalized on Tuesday and the packets are printed and ready for practice on Wednesday
2) Be organized. If you're balancing multiple teams, make sure everyone's on the same page. This one is tough. Between the rotation schedule and people's personal schedules it's almost impossible to establish a "routine."
3) Be respectful of time. There are only 24 hours in a given day and your team members don't need to spend 3 of them in practice every week. An hour of practice should be sufficient (not including set up and tear down.
4) Get a decibel meter. Volume is highly subjective. If people claim you're "too loud" you need to be able to check it out so you can bring the volume level down or tell those people what the real deal is. We play at 85-90 dB, which for a band with live drums is remarkably quiet. Most people who think we are "too loud" actually just don't like live drums.
5) Set up your gear first. Get to practice and service as early as possible to set up your whatever so that when your team gets there you can assist/socialize with them. This will also make them get ready faster.
6) Don't wear shorts. This maybe a preference thing, but nobody wants to see your knees. I'm extremely casual, but that's the line for me. Ladies, you're on your own. Let's stay away from the mini-skirts.
7) Don't listen to the nay-sayers. Negative feedback is always louder than the positive feedback, especially music and especially musical worship.
8) It's not a funeral. Last time I checked we worshiped the RISEN Lord. If he'd stayed in the grave I'd understand expressionless dirges.
9) Pay attention to you performance technique. I know it's a dirty word, but we are performers (just with different motives). A pastor has to understand the dynamics of stage presence and so do we.
10) Have integrity. Get a CCLI license and stay within the boundaries. Is your integrity worth making illegal copies of CD's and music? Hopefully not. I encourage my team to purchase the music on iTunes. It's only $0.99 and it's worth it to know that you're doing right by the artists.
I agree with all of this except the 1hr practise... Unless your team are pros and do lots of homework on their own... to bring 'weekend warriors' up to a good standard takes more than 1 hour...
I love this quote by John Glass.
“Worship leaders are road-builders.Their ministry seeks to remove obstacles out of the way of the worshiper so that they can connect more easily with God’s heart. At the same time they prepare the ground for God to impact the lives of those he loves. Like the “friend of the bridegroom” they hold the hand of both the lover and the loved.”

John Glass (General Superintendent Elim)
I've now compiled and published this list on the WTR blog: How To Lead Worship | 101 Tips For New Worship Leaders - Enjoy!
one tip (that i have missed): focus on the relationship you have as leader with your team and the congregation. if either is not responding in a practice or service, be careful how you handle the communication of that instruction! i have heard far too many leaders say harsh things (with a good heart) that were damaging long-term to some relationships in their zeal to encourgage in that moment. Think long term, and if you are frustarted with your team's or congregation's commitment to worship in a particular event: remmeber you are there to teach and LEAD them into worship -- and that may take more than a few sittings! Stay Blessable!
Before one can become a member in our church's music ministry, he must attend the worship team's bible study thrice.Do the bible reading and have quiet time with God daily (we are given passages to meditate on everyday and share those during the worship team's meeting).

As a worship leader, this passage is so strong to me: Acts 24:16
"so I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man"
A worship leader must have the heart to pray for the congregration..It is always my desire to see people worship God in spirit and in worship God for who He is and for what He has done....
Keep deepening your intimacy with the Lord and ask Him if you have any pre-conceived ideas about worship. Always go in with an open mind so there isn't any blockages in what God uses (ie) our thoughts and bents of different styles of worship music, etc. Continue to encourage your team to do likewise. I think Desparation Band put it well, The Worship Team is the Leader in Worship.
First and foremost a "worship leader" must be a true worshiper himself/herself. Ask yourself this questions, How much time do I spend worshiping alone in my closet?

As we consider David a model of a true worshipper (a man after God's own heart) he learned how to worship by spending years alone with his sheep and his God. He also had the testimony of defeating a bear and a lion and witnessed first hand how God used him to defeat Goliath etc... etc... True worship is based on faith, trust and hope and without having experienced any battles, it's difficult to lead a congregation singing "God is my refuge and my deliver" with conviction.

Too many times just because someone plays an instrument or can sing a little bit they are appointed a "worship leader"

As a worship leader, don't just practice your instrument, practice His presence! If you are a true worshiper, other worshipers will glady follow! If not, you will constantly have contentions!
1. Worship leading is not about the music, God cares less about the music style. God cares about the heart. Remember it is an audience of one

2. Be a humble servant-leader: We work for the pastor, and must serve both him and the congregation.

3 Never stand in the way of the Spirit; God will accomplish great things when we get out of the way.

4. Laugh at your mistakes and never take your self too serioulsy.

5. Lead with authority and be creative
1. Spend time in the Word & prayer every day
2. Memorize all your music
3. When you lead, put your focus on God and encourage people.
4. Look alive on stage and dress appropriately.
5. Smile
6. Listen to all the different worship music you can.
7. Prepare great charts for your rehearsals with clear form, vocal parts and musical cues.
8. Put your charts and Mp3's online for the band and singers to pre-rehearse (especially drummers)
9. Schedule lots of time for rehearsal. (we spend 3 hours/wk for 5-6 songs)
10. Learn to really listen to the singers and band around you.
Can I sneak one more thing in... encourage your pastor to teach on worship and be a great worshipper himself.
A Worshiper is an abandoned heart infront of the Lords throne, our worship is the cry of a saved soul and loving bride.


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