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.


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February 2010

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