Have you ever been in a great worship service and the worship leader and team seemed to disappear and your complete focus turned to worshiping Jesus?
Strong worship leaders know that worship is never about them, it’s about putting our gaze and attention on Jesus. Here are some keys to leading people toward Jesus in worship.
1. Worship Jesus in private
The secret of Jesus’ public success was His time spent in the secret place. In fact, Jesus said that He only spoke what the Father revealed to Him. Spending private time with Jesus in prayer, Bible reading and private worship is the main key to having a strong sense of His presence with you in your public worship time.
2. Live your life totally surrendered to God
True worship is surrendering your life to God. Paul said it this way…
I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. ~ Romans 12:1 NLT
God is looking for people who are willing to lay down their own dreams and desires and follow Him completely. God will use you in ways beyond what you can even dream about if you willing lay down your life for Him.
3. Know the music so well that you rarely have to think about it
Leading worship at a strong level includes many activities that go on at the same time. There is singing, remembering lyrics, playing an instrument, remembering the chord structure and form, leading the band, engaging the congregation and the list goes on.
The more you have the music memorized, the more time you have to focus on the two most important things: Worshiping Jesus and leading your congregation to worship Jesus.
4. Rehearse the team so well that the music is second nature
As the leader of the worship team, you need to spend enough time in rehearsal for them to feel so comfortable with the music that they can also worship. Having a whole team on stage totally focused on worshiping Jesus is a very powerful key to becoming invisible in worship.
When people see the whole team totally engaged that encourages them to do the same. And paradoxically that leads them to focusing on Jesus and not the worship team.
5. Lead your congregation from just singing songs to worshiping Jesus
The first part of the worship service is often moving people from singing about the Lord to singing directly to Him. To do that successfully, you often need to pick songs that are upbeat, and easy to sing. From there you move people along to singing strong worship songs that are sung directly to the Lord. It is so important to pick songs that don’t just sing about Jesus but songs that move your heart to directly worship God.
6. Make sure your body language matches what you are singing
Your body language speaks stronger than your words. If your singing about the joy of knowing the Lord and your face speaks the opposite, people will get the message that you don’t believe what you are singing. When people sense and see your sincerity in worship that will lead them to focus more on worshiping Jesus themselves.
7. Purposely lead people to Jesus
My goal on Sunday mornings is to lead people to focusing on the Lord. I use the song choice, song list progression, musical keys and musical transitions with that one purpose: leading people to worship Jesus. That’s my main purpose as a leader and follower of Jesus: lead people to Jesus. Jesus is the one who saves them, heals them, gives them peace, gives them direction and brings joy into their lives. It’s all about Jesus.
Question: What other ways have you found to point people to Jesus while leading?
Mark Cole is writer, consultant, arranger & worship pastor. The founding arranger at PraiseCharts, he is currently serving as interim Worship Pastor at Centre Street Church in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.