Yesterday I shared some basic worship leading “tricks” (although “tricks” might not be the best word, but I’ll just go with it. Don’t judge me…) that don’t require months and months or years and years of experience to pick up. These range from how to handle bad singers, jitters, mistakes, etc. Here are some more worship leading tricks. Maybe “tips” is a better word. Oh well. Tricks it is.
When you don’t know how to end a time of worship, sing the Doxology
Everyone knows it. It’s easy to sing. It’s Trinitarian. It ends with “amen”. Don’t do it every time, but many times when we have an extended time of worship at a service or smaller group meeting, I’m not sure how to wrap it up. Stop playing and just sing the doxology acappella. Beautiful.
Your pastor is your insurance
Here’s an example: in the Anglican church we have a “rule” that during Lent you can’t say “Alleluia”. You have to wait until Easter. I get this, but I also think it’s a little bit silly. I asked my pastor if he cares about this rule. He said he didn’t. So I use songs during Lent that have the word Alleluia. When I get comments/complaints, I tell them my pastor said it’s OK. Bam. Use your pastor for cover.
A good recording goes a long way
If you can avoid it – don’t teach your worship team a new song by singing it to them at rehearsal. Unless they’re really good at making up and picking out parts and arrangements on the spot, you’re guaranteeing a long slog of getting everything sorted out. Find a good recording online somewhere and find a way to get it to your team a few days (at least) in advance. Your drummer should pay attention to how the drummer plays, your singers pay attention to the harmonies, etc. You do yourself and your team a favor when you do this.
Unplug your guitar cable from the direct box first
Check with your sound engineer about this – but if you’re unplugging your guitar during a service, to avoid the loud pop of doom, unplug it from the direct box first. Only unplug from your guitar if you’re 100% you’ve been muted, or if you have a pedal tuner that mutes your signal pre-direct box. If you don’t follow this rule, and you send a deafening pop through the speakers, your sound engineer will officially hate your guts because the congregation will give him the dirty looks. Help a brother out.
Flip flops are a no-no
Unless (1) you’re leading worship on the beach or (2) you’re leading worship on the beach, don’t wear flip flops while leading worship if you’re a guy. For some reason, this rule doesn’t necessarily apply to women. Their flip flops and fancier and their feet are generally considered to be less gross.
Getting the right tempo matters
Don’t just launch into a song in a hurry. Take a few seconds to hum a section of the song in your head to make sure you get the tempo right. Don’t let your drummer or keyboardist or guitarist start off the song unless you’re confident they’ll start it off with the right tempo. If you are having someone else start off the song, decide the BPM during rehearsal, and if they have an iPhone or some other smart phone, make sure they have one of the many free metronome apps that are out there. It can silently blink the tempo at them. Doing a song too slow or too fast can ruin it.
It’s easier to correct the tempo with your voice than with your instrument
If the song is too fast or too slow, the temptation is to start strumming or playing the keys more rapidly or slowly in order to give the rest of the band a hint. Not a terrible idea, but in my experience, it’s easier to get the band to speed up or slow down to the correct tempo if I just stubbornly start singing faster or slower. Try it.