3 Things I Wish a Worship Leader Would Have Taught Me Long Ago

A while back I had coffee with a younger (think 20 years old) worship leader that I know through family. He was looking for a little help and direction as he leads students usually once a week.

As I spent some time thinking through what to share, I thought of things I wish an older worship leader would have taught me when I was a younger worship leader. Certainly I haven’t figured it all out, but I think I’ve learned a few things over the last 10 years of consistently leading worship for youth and adults. Here’s 3 things I’ve learned that I wish an older worship leader would have taught me long ago:

  1. Create a culture of worship through authentic sharing, exhortation, and example. I hear all the time how this church and that church has an amazing “culture of worship.” It’s definitely an overused phrase. And even though I don’t like this idea of a culture of worship, I do think a worship leader has great effect on how their congregation worships when they gather. Authentic sharing helps make that person on stage become a real person. Leading by example means showing what worshiping during a church gathering looks like and what being a worshiper of Christ looks like outside of church.
  2. Plan ahead. I’ve found that I lead most effectively usually when I have planned ahead more than normal. Any worship leader can put together a great music set and get music to the band/vocals, but very few worship leaders think through how they want to transition between songs and how they want to intro the gathering. It’s those things that allow you to lead well in the moment instead of stumbling over your thoughts.
  3. Be intentional. My biggest pet peeve is pointless dead space in between songs at church. The worship leader stares at the band as they fumble over their music trying to start the next song and the congregation usually stands wondering what is going on. I do my very best to avoid those moments because they lack intentionality. As a younger worship leader I rarely thought through the flow of a music set and rarely was intentional with the moments outside of a song that I had control over.

There’s a lot of worship leaders who read this blog. I’d love to hear what advice you would give a younger worship leader.