Ten Worship Leading Myths

There isn’t a worship leader in the world who doesn’t struggle with regular, persistent, frustratingly silly (but still dangerous) moments of doubt/fear/anxiety/self-consciousness/jealousy. We start to believe myths that tell us we should be different, or we aren’t talented enough, or we shouldn’t uphold certain principles. These myths weaken our ministry as worship leaders.

Here are ten common worship leading myths that come to mind:

1: Every week you have to be more creative than the last. Wrong. Every week you get to point people to Jesus again.

2: Don’t waste too much time thinking/praying about songs for Sunday. Wrong. This is your most important job.

3: You need a great voice. Wrong. If God calls you then you’re the man for the job. Sing with abandon.

4: You have to stay up-to-date with all the new stuff. Wrong. None of the stuff changes lives. Jesus does.

5: You’ve really arrived when you get famous. Wrong. The Church needs servants not celebrities.

6: if people aren’t into it then something’s wrong with your leading. Wrong. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job. Be patient.

7: Anyone with a willing heart should serve on the worship team. Wrong. Look for heart AND giftedness.

8: The Holy Spirit only shows up on the 4th song. Wrong. Don’t create formulas. Magnify Jesus in whatever time you have.

9: You’d be happier at another church. Wrong. You’d just have different challenges and different reasons to be unhappy.

10: You should speak before every song. Wrong. The more you talk, the less they hear what you’re actually saying.

I know I missed several hundred more myths that worship leaders believe. If you’ve got any to share, I’d love to hear them.

33 thoughts on “Ten Worship Leading Myths

  1. Sam October 10, 2012 / 12:31 pm

    How about these for a bit of controversy:

    All your favourite worship leaders are singing a particular song, therefore you should. Wrong. You choose new songs based on what will focus your congregation more on Jesus.

    You’re missing a particular musician this week so should choose different songs. Wrong. When your ability to lead relies on what instruments are accompanying the people you’re leading, either your song choice was wrong to start with, or you aren’t confident enough in your gift of leadership.

    • Jamie Brown October 10, 2012 / 1:57 pm

      So good!

  2. Jason Delgado October 10, 2012 / 1:44 pm

    Very helpful,… I always find myself falling into one of these from time to time,… how about this one.

    Myth: The Holy Spirit is quenched when someone in the band makes a mistake or the powerpoint goes out, etc…

    • Jamie Brown October 10, 2012 / 1:57 pm

      Great one.

  3. Emmy October 17, 2012 / 1:08 pm

    I’m wondering about myths #3 and #7… one states you don’t need talent, the other says that you need a willing spirit AND “giftedness”.

    • Jamie Brown October 17, 2012 / 1:22 pm

      Myth 3 doesn’t say “you don’t need talent”. It says you don’t need a great voice. In other words, you don’t have to sing like Chris Tomlin in order to lead worship. If you can, that’s great. But if you have an average voice, don’t feel like you’re not good enough to lead worship. If you have a willing heart and some level of giftedness, and if God calls you, then just sing, sing, sing.

      That’s what myth 7 is getting at. You need to have some level of skill (Psalm 33:3). Heart matters more (1 Samuel 16:7). But skill does matter. Don’t add people to your team who are full of skill but don’t have the right heart. Similarly, don’t add people who are full of heart, but have no skill.

      • Tim October 19, 2012 / 12:20 pm

        I think “giftedness” in this case refers to spiritual giftedness – being anointed by the Lord in some way to do the job – not necessarily the same kind of talent that the world mostly looks for. Sometimes God’s anointing or spiritual gifts come with talent like an amazing voice and sometimes it takes another form. In any case, having anointing or spiritual gifts means God has equipped you to do what He has called you to do.

  4. Mary October 17, 2012 / 1:15 pm

    Another Myth: I can whip up a great service order five minutes before service starts!
    WRONG. After praying all week about the direction of the service, carefully select songs and placement to fulfill the goal.

  5. c. shaw October 17, 2012 / 1:59 pm

    Myth:
    The Holy Spirit only moves to the dotted eighth delay.

  6. Richard October 17, 2012 / 2:31 pm

    One thing you all have missed. You should be singing the Inspired Word of God, the Psalms. Why do you want to sing “Mans” songs when God already gave, and command you to sing His songs?

    • Jamie Brown October 17, 2012 / 2:54 pm

      Hi Richard,

      Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comment and your question. Two quick things:

      First, I agree with you that we should sing God’s word in our services. Paul says in Colossians 3:16 to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly“. Singing God’s word helps this happen.

      Secondly, to answer your question “why do you want to sing ‘man’s’ songs…”, I’d point you to the rest of that verse when Paul says we should sing “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs“. Notice he didn’t just say “psalms“. He added …”hymns, and spiritual songs“. So if the New Testament church could sing man-written songs, then so can we. And, as Harold Best says in “Music Through the Eyes of Faith“, even Jesus himself, “the perfect one could sing imperfect music created by fallen and imperfect people, while doing so completely to the glory of his heavenly
      Father
      .”

      So when we sing man-written songs, we have pretty good company.

      Thanks,
      Jamie

      • Tim October 19, 2012 / 12:36 pm

        Well said Jamie! Also, remember that the angels around the throne of God himself are not singing psalms per se; they’re just compelled by God’s glory to sing His praises in His very presence. (Isaiah 6:3, Revelation 4:8) We are invited to join in that song here on earth and in heaven (Isaiah 49:13, Revelation 19:1). And I believe, that by extension, any song that we can sing which magnifies God’s glory in spirit and in truth with surrendered hearts is a song that will please the LORD.

  7. willowstop October 17, 2012 / 4:30 pm

    One of the greatest myths of all: In order to “get the job done” we have to have a “worship team” with a back-up band….as has been stated, it is the Holy Spirit who draws, we only need make sure that our songs are scripturally sound, glorifying God. Plant, water, God gives the increase!!!!

    • Tim October 19, 2012 / 12:36 pm

      here here!

  8. Mike October 17, 2012 / 5:40 pm

    Excellent article.

    Any Biblically, sound song can be used for congregational worship… Wrong: The song must be either ABOUT God/Jesus/what he’s done etc… to glorify him or TO God/Jesus to glorify him. But not TO people, about God. Save the TO people songs for when you want to give a message TO people.

    • Jamie Brown October 17, 2012 / 6:57 pm

      Hi Mike,

      Thanks for the comment. If you don’t mind, I’ll reference Colossians 3:16 again where Paul says “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God”.

      It seems like he’s saying there is a relationship between singing to God and teaching/admonishing one another (i.e. songs to people about God).

      So I think I’d say that any biblically, sound song CAN be used for congregational worship. BUT we have to make sure we’re placing it in the spot where it will most effectively serve the congregation. You and I might be on the same page about this but I just wanted to clarify.

      Thanks,

      Jamie

      • Mike October 17, 2012 / 10:39 pm

        Hey Jamie. I think we agree?

        My point was that our congregational “worship singing” times should focused vertically, not horixontally. Those times should be TO or ABOUT God, not to one another.

        As you say, that list in Colossians 3:16 is not solely directed at specific times of worship to or about God. It is an inclusive list for various situations. For example, one could minister to the church through a song that challenges them to live a more dedicated life, such as Keith Green’s, “Asleep in the Light”. This song is addressed to people, not God. It would not make sense to try and use that song though as part of the normal time of congregational worship to God. Make sense?

        Blessings, Mike

      • Jamie Brown October 18, 2012 / 9:48 am

        Thanks, Mike. Yes, that makes sense. I would tend to use songs that are more horizontal in focus for the offering, or when I specifically have people sit down so we can sing a song over them. I did this a few Sundays ago when we sang Andrew Peterson’s “Rest Easy”. I wrote a post on that just recently.

      • Mike October 18, 2012 / 9:52 am

        🙂

  9. Cyndy Warnier November 6, 2012 / 10:18 am

    My two cents on #3: If God calls you then you’re the…is a woman OK here, too? Just wondering-duh!! Great points to ponder, all of them, as they remind us of the most important thing: our audience of one who is God, not the congregation. When we get that role, our worship rises as sweet incense to God’s throne and our hearts and then the train of his robe fills the temple with glory!!

  10. Dave Brown November 6, 2012 / 1:07 pm

    Myth: Worship leading is a musical function. Wrong; it is a leadership function. God equips an organization through leaders that equip those around them. A single, polished Sunday performance is worthless compared to building a community where people value, mentor, serve, and love each other. Skill alone cannot build community.

    With regard to #7 in the original post, how does one “measure” heart. What standard could a “good” heart be compared to (or a “bad” one for that matter)?

  11. Beverly Holliday November 7, 2012 / 10:02 am

    Thanks so much for this, I needed it TODAY!! I will share this with our worship team.

  12. Marcus June 5, 2014 / 11:30 am

    Yes, needed this today. Thank you.

  13. Sean Steckbeck June 6, 2014 / 12:00 pm

    Myth: Lets start to worship the Lord as if only a musical presentation is worship. Truth, worship is everything we do and at all moments of the day. I never stop worshiping, so why should I start?

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