Thursday, September 8, 2011
10 Thoughts For And From A Worship Leader*
A friend recently recommended this post, "12 Thoughts For and From a Worship Leader", and asked what my thoughts for worship leading might be...so, I thought I'd write a post about that.
I've been around the church long enough now to have heard my fair share of "The 7 Secrets To Success" and "The 3 Things Every Leader Should Know"...everyone has their two cents, their catchy one-liners, their $200 DVD series that they live and breathe and Tweet by...
...but what I found so refreshing about Carlos' list (see link above) is that these 12 things we're practical, unpredictable, original, and clearly coming from personal experience. So here's my stab at such a list. If you're a church musician, I hope this helps you to look at things in a new way...if you're not a church musician, my hope is that this list will help you understand your friendly neighborhood worship leader a little better...
1. Your band-members are people first, and musicians second. Treat them accordingly.
2. Learn how to talk to drummers.
Your drummer probably doesn't know what to do with advice like "more tom stuff" or "more energy!" Know what you want from them and how to communicate that to them before they show up for practice.
3. Communicate with your vocalists.
As an instrumentalist, it's easy to overlook vocals in an attempt to lock in the instrumentation. Make sure your singers feel like an important part of the band. Otherwise, during that big instrumental breakdown you rehearsed, instead of engaging in the music, your vocalists will stand there, feeling excluded, until the vocals kick back in.
4. Work closely with your pastor.
The best church services are the ones where the music and message support each other. Make sure you have harmony with your pastor on a relational level and with the subject matter of the service you're leading together.
5. Never lead a song "just because".
If you can't tell me why you chose the songs you did, then you haven't thought enough about the importance of what you're leading me through.
6. Get inspired.
Figure out what inspires you and do that before every practice, service, and songwriting session, especially if that's listening to good music. (Heresy alert: "secular" music can inspire you to worship just as much as "Christian" music...but that's for another post)
If you're getting sick of or bored with a classic song, so are your people. You don't have to be a master song-writer to re-arrange a popular song- it's amazing how the littlest things can breathe life into a dull or dying arrangement: change the tempo, change the key, turn an anthem into an acoustic tune, or a hymn into an anthem, have a female lead a usually-male-led song, or visa versa. Do not be responsible for burying an important song underneath an outdated, predictable, or too-familiar arrangement.
8. Get feedback.
Find someone you trust, give them permission to tell you what you're doing well and what you need to work on, and then listen to and learn from them when they offer advice or criticism.
9. Expect big things to happen.
Every time you gather with your congregation. Every time. Do not let your lack of imagination limit what the Spirit wants to do.
10. Take this seriously.
This may seem harsh, but here it is: You are an artistic ambassador of the Creator God. Make music that reflects that. Please don't embarrass me and my church family by making mediocre art about an amazing God.
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What are your ten?
**photo taken from here