Archive for February, 2010


How to be a Worship Leader – part 3

Lead Worshipper vs. Worship Leader

In researching “worship leader” years ago I came across this great definition, surprisingly on a non-Christian website: “In some churches, every member of the choir or band is considered to be a worship leader, by helping to lead the congregation in worship by truly worshipping God with their voice or instrument.” I like this since it not only challenges the traditional view of worship leader but also puts in context the idea of what it means to be a lead-worshipper.

On worship teams that I lead, I teach that while we may have someone assigned the job of worship leader, each member of the team is actually a lead worshipper. I define it this way in our Praise and Worship team manual:

Each and every person on the team is a leader in their position. One description of our role that I believe encapsulates this best is using the term “Lead Worshipper” rather than “Worship Leader.” My interpretation of this is that we all have a great responsibility in each of our assigned roles. Therefore we should see ourselves as leading God’s people from our position. We are all driving to the same ultimate goal, yet each of us has been assigned different responsibilities.

You have been assigned a role in the body of Christ. And from that role I believe you have a responsibility to be a worship leader. I.e. to lead others by your example of being a true worshipper of God. Your sphere of influence is different from mine, yet we are all working to the same ultimate goal: glorification of God in the service of others.

“Worship is our response, both personal and corporate, to God for who He is and what He has done, expressed in and by the things we say and the way we live.” – Louie Giglio

I first heard the term “lead worshipper” from Louie Giglio in a small breakout session at a Passion Conference (to put this event in context, then unknown David Crowder Band was introduced at the late night extended worship session and it was also the first time Tim Hughes had ever played “Here I am to Worship” outside of his home church). To be perfectly candid, at first I thought it was just a cute play on words designed to make everyone who is not leading take more ownership of their role. Let’s be honest, we all have likely been in a position of feeling like we are an “extra” on the platform. And in that context, I suppose the term is helpful, but the true heart behind this expression goes so much deeper.

“I believe you can bring glory to God, regardless of what you are doing, as long as what you are doing honors Him” – Rick Muchow

Rick points out that regardless of our position (on the worship team, in life) we can and should bring glory to God. And if you recall in part 1 that our first and foremost purpose in worship is to glorify God, this means that every time we step onto the platform, or even attend a gathering of believers (see part 2) we have a chance to be a lead worshipper, in that we glorify God with what we do at that very moment in time and influence others to do the same.

To put this in the setting of a worship team, I believe that the bass player or alto singer has just as much potential influence at certain moments in time on the worship gathering as the person who is leading the team. One simple way this happens is that each and every person in the gathering relates to each member of the worship ensemble differently. Some people key in on the drums, some on the harmonies, etc. If you are leading from your position, you will maximize the influence you can have on the gathering. If your heart is one to glorify God in all you do, the likelihood of the Holy Spirit working through you is higher. And with the Holy Spirit comes anointing, and with anointing exponential power to influence others. I have seen life transformation happen in others simply because I was obedient to the Lord in strumming a few chords and singing with the best of my ability in an effort to glorify God. Imagine how humbling an experience that can be, to be truly used by God to bring about change in others and pleasure to the Almighty.

“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.” Colossians 1:10

I’ll wrap up this series next time with a final look at worship as our purpose.


How to be a Worship Leader – Part 2

In part one of this study I defined being a worship leader in these terms:

To be respected, and therefore to influence others for the advancement of the Kingdom via your daily display of heart-felt humble adoration and reverence of God in all you do.

Or to put it more simply: acting out your total love, praise, and thankfulness to God the Father, in every action you take and through this example, inspiring others to do the same.

You may think this sounds intimidating and therefore might wonder, “Do I have a responsibility to others?”

Jesus was once asked the greatest commandment of all and in responding he gave us two. In that second commandment he commits us all to acts of service to others. In Matthew 22:39 Jesus says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The logical result of this order of things that God has put before us is simple; you are not the priority, God is #1 and the service of others follows. God didn’t tell us to love ourselves first, then treat others in a similar way. No, he directs that the capacity we have to exalt ourselves needs to be spent in exalting others. Put plainly, it is to be God first and others second.

So how do we do this? A systematic Bible study reveals a 4-part doctrine, or foundation of worship:
Biblical worship must be done in love. No love – no worship (1 Corinthians 13)
Biblical worship is always accompanied by humility and reverent fear (Isaiah 66:2)
Biblical worship is commanded by God (Luke 10:27/Matthew 22)
Biblical worship involves surrendering your entire life as an offering to God (Romans 12:1)

Love, humility and reverence, obedience, surrender…

This begs the question, so how in fact do we lead others with our worship of God? The four foundations of worship is a lot to handle, and I will admit that I do not always feel capable of being a worship leader. Most of us feel handicapped in our ability to influence others, especially when it comes to relationships. In her job my wife works with disabled children every day. To put the concept of being handicapped in perspective for all of us, here is a revelation that she discovered:

My life is forever changed because of what I have learned about the power that He {God} really did create us all equally! I remember when I asked God what makes handicapped people different from me or the all the other people, Why did He create them so different? And He spoke to me very clearly and said, “The difference between them and you is that their handicaps are on the outside in plan view for everyone to see and yours are on the inside and can be camouflaged so there is really no difference”…So I learned we are equal!

We all have the similar levels of deficiency; some people just have the ability to mask theirs a little better than others. So I say, get over it, don’t be intimidated by people’s camouflage and begin to see yourself as a leader from the position that God has planted you in. Yes that’s right, no matter where you sit in the sanctuary for a worship service, no matter what chair you find yourself at during the work week, no matter what group of people you find yourself in relationship with inside or outside the church, all of us are to be leaders from whatever position we hold. God gave us a beautiful picture of how the Body of Christ works together in Paul’s epistle 1 Corinthians chapter 12. In part he says, “in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.”

Since we have been given a responsibility to lead, and God placed us where we are at, it seems we all must step up and claim our position of authority in Christ and how we interact with the world and others. And yet you still may not think of yourself as a leader. The next time we will cover the idea of being a lead worshipper vs. being a worship leader.


How to be a Worship Leader

When you hear the term “worship leader” what comes to mind? Likely it is this: a man or woman who is a musician, typically one who plays the guitar or piano, standing in front of a group of people singing songs that you are invited to follow along with, and in following this person’s lead, you will hopefully connect with God.

That is not an inaccurate picture since the official definition of “worship leader” is: a musician or singer who leads a congregation in musical expression of worship. Most people do not consider themselves worship leaders and additionally, they believe they never will be. This is based in the notion that to be a worship leader you must be a vocalist or instrumentalist. I challenge that today, and suggest that being a worship leader is not predicated on whether or not you can lead people in song with your voice or with an instrument. Stick with me and I think you will find that not only can you be a worship leader in your own right, but that you actually have a responsibility to be a worship leader.

Let’s start with a breakdown of what the term worship leader actually means. This may seem obvious, but to be a worship leader, you must first be a leader.

A “leader” is defined as a person who “leads or exhibits leadership.” Leadership can have a formal aspect, as in most political or business leadership, or an informal one, as in most friendships. Speaking of “leadership” usually implies that the persons doing the leading have some leadership skills or competencies. Several types of people may provide or exhibit leadership, including:

– A person in the position of authority
– A person in a position associated with expertise, skill, or experience
– A group of respected people

You can see that leadership implies a relationship of power — the power to guide others. Better put, it is the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of the organizations of which they are members. All of us have been the benfactors of leaders and leadership in one form or another.

Second, and hopefully just as obvious, to be a worship leader you must also be a worshipper.

The English definition of worship is: honor and adoration, admiration and respect, directed to God. Now while the English Bible uses one word for Worship, the Hebrew and Greek texts use 10 different words to define it. In the New Testament, two of them particularly are noteworthy:

Proskuneo (e.g. Matthew 2:2, John 4:24): it means “to kiss the hand,” or “to bow down,” it is the word used to signify humble adoration and reverence. And second, Latreuo (e.g. Philippians 3:3): used 21 times in the NT, it means “to serve” or “to minister” it suggests rendering honor, or paying homage.

The act of worshiping is fundamental to who we are as people. Christian theologians have defined humanity as “homo adorans,” which means, the “worshipping man,” and thus the worship of God is at the very core of what it means to be human. Rick Warren puts it this way, “Worship is any expression of our love to God – for who he is, for what he said, and what he’s doing.”

Rick suggests that “any” expression is valid as an act of worship. I agree with him. You see, as Christians, we are instructed that everything we do on a daily basis needs to be offered up to the Lord as worship: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Thus, we can conclude that worship involves offering ALL we have to God: “Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship” Romans 12:1

Therefore, I define being a worship leader in these terms:

To be respected, and therefore to influence others for the advancement of the Kingdom via your daily display of heart-felt humble adoration and reverence of God in all you do.

Or to put it more simply: acting out your total love, praise, and thankfulness to God, in every action you take and through this example, inspiring others to do the same.

You may think this sounds intimidating. Next time, I will provide some insight into understanding our responsibility to lead.


February 2010

Top Clicks

  • None