Hey! I'm leading worship for the 2nd week in a row at church for my youth group this Wednesday. I did it last week and it went...alright. I didn't say very much so it made it kind of awkward. I'm pretty sure it has to do with my lack of confidence. I don't have any songs planned or anything to say so does anyone have any advice for me?


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Hi Shelby, I would say pray, practice, and plan. Try to work with songs that you know, and songs that they would know to.

Definitely get some songs planned. In the absence of any other factors, include some of the ones you did last week. Not only does that mean you can be more confident in how you will get on with them, but it also means the people you are leading will have a better idea of how you are likely to lead them through the song.

Also, is this a solo event? If you can get someone to work with that will make it so much easier.

It is a solo event. I was going to get our music guy to help me but the reason why they are letting me do worship is because he will not be there.

What about the youth group? Are any of them musical? I know I'm spoilt because pretty much our entire group are very musically skilled but it would be worth considering. As well as helping you out it has the added bonus of encouraging and involving the youth.

ps. I've no idea where you fit in this - are you one of the youth yourself or (like me) a little more, shall we say mature? Also how large is your group?

Lead the people, share your heart, choose the songs and get out of your own way. Trust God and let Him do what only he can do, if he's not in it were only singing songs. Enjoy yourself and be led in worship so that you may lead others.

My feeling, leading worship in a relatively new situation, is that it's good to plan. I would be inclined to take them on a journey, first through thanks and praise, then into exaltation and finally into close, quiet worship. However if you only have 20min instead of an hour + that isn't possible.

Generally with youth noisier and bouncier works well, but it's good to get some 'throne time' too. It may also help if you explain where you're going first, then work through the songs. Put gaps in there and encourage them to pray into the openings between singing so that they are making a pro-active response instead of passively watching (that can be a real problem with adults too).

Don't be discouraged if it feels on the edge of a trainwreck at times. I've come to realise that un-polished worship is often much more accessible (provided people are on your side and not snobby) than having a slick band with everything timed to perfection and no way in for 'ordinary' people.

I'm, well several, years into my experience of leading worship and I still often find myself either narrowly avoiding wrecks or sometimes driving straight into them. A couple of recent examples:

1. I was providing the music for an evening service and started the Graham Kendrick song "Peace to You": simple, gentle and (perhaps surprisingly for a Kendrick song) only about three chords. It had sounded fine when I was practising but, when I stood up to play, I just couldn't get it all together. I fumbled through and moved on. Afterwards, it turned out no-one had particularly noticed; one of the main problems was that no-one else really new the song so perhaps they thought it went like that (sorry Mr K!).

2. This Sunday I wanted to use the hymn "Abide With Me". However, at relatively short notice I discovered that I wasn't going to have a keyboard player. I didn't have time to get it down pat and the guitarist who was backing me up isn't overconfident at playing hymns from books (although he is excellent at reeling out more contemporary songs from memory). I concentrated mainly on singing it right and we just had a bit of bass underneath and a few fingerpicked chords sprinkled over the top. At the end, that was the song that was picked out for particular commendation when I was catching up with the preacher; "so lovely to hear ourselves sing", he said.

I don't want to undermine my earlier advice to prepare as well as you can but, in the performance of the set, tell your inner critic to go and lie down in a dark room. It doesn't sound quite right to say that you can get away with plenty of mistakes but even significant crashes (yes, I've even sometimes had to stop a song and start again!) do seem to get washed in grace and come out less damaging than might be imagined.

When I read this I found myself looking for the "share" button. Maybe I'm on Facebook too much these days... :)

As simple as it sounds, my best words to you would be to actually personally enter into worship yourself.  I know that sounds simple (and perhaps corny) but most people (particularly young people) can tell if it is coming out of you in a genuine way or if it is forced. 

Plans aren't bad, making one will probably help you out.  Include stuff that you actually worship with.  Have a time personally where you just worship your guts out and then review that after the fact.  If you're passionate about what you are doing, that will come through, and it can be contagious.

Agreed -- That would be my first advice for you as well.  As "Worship Leader", you're not like Mapquest and you're not a museum curator.  And your brothers & sisters are not passengers, spectators or customers, they're on journey with you.  You're a worship sherpa! ;) 

We don't go to church to worship, we bring our worship to church with us.  You cannot "lead" (I'm still uncomfortable with that image and title) where you haven't been.  Focus on God and don't worry about any "mistakes" as long as you're giving Him your best.  He is glorified in our praises - if praising Him is our pure desire, then His own Spirit will make the connections and light the way.

I would say, don't worry if you don't say much. It's a whole lot better not to talk than to ramble because you feel you have to say something. If there is a place where you feel you need to fill space, write something out and keep it simple.




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