Effective worship leaders learn how to manage multiple sources of information while they’re standing on stage leading worship. What are you seeing? What are you hearing? What are you sensing? What time of day is it? Is it really hot in the room? The list goes on. At any given moment while you’re leading worship, you’re experiencing a flood of information. You have to learn how to process it all, which means knowing what 95% of it you’re going to ignore.
But while most things you have to deal with are external, the one internal source (i.e. your motivation) can be the strongest force of all. Why are you asking people to sing this particular song? What are you hoping to accomplish by having them clap on every beat like on the recording? Why are you choosing that arrangement?
You have to know your motivation well enough to discern when it’s wrong. And when you can discern that your motivation is wrong, then you’ll know to not do the thing you’re thinking about doing, until your motivation is right.
Here are some common wrong motivations for worship leaders:
- This is how they do it on the recording
- This is cool
- This makes me sound good
- This makes me look good
- I can’t let the clock quench the Spirit
- This song always works
- This will get the place hopping
- This will get the mood worshipful
- This will catch my congregation up
- This is my performance
Here are some right motivations for worship leaders:
- This will help them sing confidently
- This will help them see and magnify Jesus
- This will bless them
- This will make me look foolish but I’m going to do it anyway
- This will honor my pastor
- This is going to stretch them
- This is not my preference, but it’s the best decision
- This will help people hear/respond to the sermon
- This isn’t the way they did it on the recording but this serves my congregation better
- This isn’t something my team can pull off, so even though I’d like to do it, I will wait
Search your heart when you’re planning or leading worship, and ask yourself “why am I doing this” or “why am I asking them to do this?” The answer to those questions will give you a good deal of clarity on how to move forward.