There are few worship leading skills that will end up serving you as well as the skill of always knowing what’s next in a service. Not only having your bearings, but also knowing who is supposed to be “up” after you, and what they’re supposed to do, will prove an invaluable skill and help your colleagues and volunteers learn that they can trust you.
Every Wednesday morning at my church, all the worship staff and pastors gather for a 30-minute meeting to (a) debrief the past weekend and (b) look ahead to the coming weekend. We look over the service, who’s doing what, what’s happening when, if anything out of the ordinary is happening, and if there’s anything we need to change.
By Sunday morning, half the people who were in that room on Wednesday have forgotten most of what we talked about.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve finished a song and looked down to the front row, expecting one of our pastors to come up and lead a prayer, and they look at me with a nice smile that says “I have no idea why you’re looking at me”. Since I can’t just say “because you’re supposed to come up and lead the closing prayer like we talked about on Wednesday, remember?” I just smile back and segue into the prayer. After the service we laugh about it.
Being able to cover for other pastors, scripture readers, prayer leaders, etc., is important. It keeps things running smoothly, and it’s one helpful way you can serve the people around you. Your pastor/the preacher will especially appreciate your eye contact and a gentle nod when he’s supposed to come up and do/say something, since his mind can be in a million other places.
It’s not enough for a worship leader to lead the songs and then be done. A worship leader should also be comfortable and familiar with the structure, outline, and elements of a service (particularly the tricky ones) to give his fellow-worship leaders direction when they need it.
Keep a bulletin/order of service/planning center outline close by. And be ready to jump in (with a smile) if you need to. People will trust you and enjoy leading services with you when they know you have their back.