We all have to start somewhere, right?
Sometimes I have to pinch myself to see if it has really been over 20 years that I’ve been leading worship in some capacity. Even longer as a member of worship teams! It seems like it was just yesterday that I was playing the trumpet parts on Integrity’s then latest we Hosanna! chart called Mighty Warrior.
Where does the time go?
Anyways, as I’ve progressed over the years I’ve learned several crucial “tips” that I gladly pass along to young worship leaders.
1) Listen to tips from seasoned worship leaders!
Young people have a tendency to buck trends and rock the boat. Their youthful zeal is, at times, what makes them such great trailblazers and innovators.
And it’s also the very thing that at times causes them to run headlong into situations they could avoid with a bit of experienced wisdom and insight from those who have lived a bit longer.
As an “older and wiser” worship leader who has a few years under my belt, I encourage you to zealously seek out experienced worship leaders that you can learn from and be challenged by!
One of my favorite times as a young worship leader was sitting quietly with a handful of others in a backstage room with a much more experienced Ron Kenoly as he shared from his experiences.
2) Work Well with your leadership team.
It might be a pastor, a board, a group of elders, or some sort of leadership team. Do your best to serve them well. Not out of a begrudged attitude, but out of a sincere desire to serve the Body well.
Sometimes the age of a young worship leader automatically places them at odds with the much older leadership team. This doesn’t mean that the leadership team is always right and should never be challenged, but it does give the young WL and opportunity to really be faithful and learn how to submit and serve.
One of the mistakes I made early in my years as a worship leader was assuming that I was the only one with a “heart for worship” in our church. They couldn’t possibly understand the depths of worship because they weren’t gifted like me. What a fool I was!
God wants to UNIFY and knit the hearts of the leaders HE has appointed and anointed so that they lead together! Unity is way more important than preference. I learned that my preferences for expressing worship a certain way built a wall between the leadership and me. I assumed that because they were older, they were set in their ways.
I might have been right at times, but God taught me that he had placed in that “job” to learn and grow from the very men and women that I thought needed to learn from me!
3) Learn to seek God
Leading worship is not genuine or beneficial to the Body of God is not the object of worship. Worship needs an object. You can’t worship nothing. Some person, place, or thing is the item that is revered, honored, exalted, and glorified.
If all you do is get great at singing songs, crafting killer musical arrangements, or making a choir sound good, but you don’t seek God, you’re not leading worship. Well, in a sense, you actually might be leading people to worship YOU! Even if you don’t realize it!
Leading worship is all about worshiping God! Helping others express their worship is what a true leader does! That comes through more than just being a good singer and musician.
4) Learn to teach worship
As we follow the lead of the Holy Spirit, we can encourage and teach others about sound Biblical expressions of worship. All expressions of worship should come directly from a heart of worship, a heart turned towards God!
Learn to pause briefly when introducing a new song to teach what the lyrics mean. Teach people what outward expressions of worship can look like. Be intentional about sharing why it’s ok and UNIFYING for the church to sing together! Talk about it!
5) Learn to coach
As a young worship leader one of the hardest things to become excellent at is coaching other worship leaders. To become a great singer, player and leader is one thing, but to actually pour that out and develop others to do the same is another thing.
I think Jesus loves it when worship leaders create other leaders! Learn how to coach your team members. Disciple them spiritually AND musically! Some of my proudest moments are seeing young people I’ve worked with using their talents to help others worship the Lord!
One of the best ways to learn to coach is to be coached! See tip #1!