Need Help to Become More Natural while Leading Worship.
So, I started as a vocalist on my churchís praise team about 7 years ago. I was a new Christian and wanted to use my gifts within the church. At the time, the praise team leader announced they were looking for a vocalist. I didnít have a formal audition. Was told to show up at their practice and to take it from there. They took me on and I mostly did harmonies. Within a few months that praise team leader left and the woman who led the early service praise team took over. There were many singers and players. I always went with the flow.. did a few solos here and there but I was mostly in the background.
Over the years the praise team leader and I became BFFís. She would come to me when she was feeling discouraged and I would do my best to reassure her that she was called to lead. On top of things, our daughters also became BFFís. The team has gone through many players and singers over the years. Some leaving to go to other churches while other relocated out of state. The team got to the point where we had a very solid group of people. Not only were we ďband matesĒ but great friends outside of the praise team. It was great to have such open friendships where we could be honest... not only with each other, but ourselves on our abilities. She never led the team with an iron fist, but we were all mature enough to respect her final decisions on things. And she was flexible enough to listen and try other peoples ideas and allow for some creative expression.
In August, she had to move out of state due to her husband getting laid off and not being able to find work in the area. It was a devastating blow to us all. Our CR praise team leader has taken over now. Since then... we lost 2 singers, our bass and our two main guitarist. Thankfully my husband has stepped up to play bass for us. We did find a guitarist but itís all new to him playing worship music and he is slowly getting familiar with the music. With the other 2 vocalist gone, that leaves me as the only vocalist.
While Iím no stranger to solos.. I AM a stranger to actual leading worship. I was tucked away in my safe and comfortable position on leading a solo every now and then and doing back up vocals. Now Iím out there having to lead and I must admit Iím petrified! Iím dyslexic and flip flop words and sentences while I speak. Strange it doesnít happen when I sing. But there has been a lot of pressure. Re-learning all the music so I can carry the melody since many of the songs Iím on automatic pilot with harmonies. Not to mention all the key changes going on to accompany my range. Iím fine when Iím singing but I feel very robotic while trying to lead into worship.
Is there any good reads out there that could help me to become more natural in this role I was thrown into? Thanx in Advance.
Hi Lady T, A great resource I just read is "Worship Matters" by Bob Kauflin. I've been a worship leader for 11 years (like you, starting as a Praise Team vocalist for a few years before that) and the insights are taking me to the next level, as a musician, worship leader, and follower of Christ.
Blessings to you!
Originally Posted by Lady T
Like you, I've been a praise team vocalist for a few years, singing mostly harmonies. I regularly sing solos and have led the congregation in individual songs. The only time I've led a program has been for some small ladies' events, and that terrifies me.
Over the last year, we've lost most of our team for a variety of reasons, and my husband and I are the only singers at this time. He usually leads, but he's going to be out of town for work on 10/14, so I am leading by myself that day.
It is definitely an adjustment, but I think it's something that will just take time. You will be more comfortable the more times you lead.
The Bob Kauflin book recommended above is very good.
Hey Lady T!
Wow, I'm sure this is a pretty exciting time for you! Exciting but scary, to say the least. I think the vast majority of us WLs have been 'thrust' into the leading position as a result of the natural process of God's 'moving the chess pieces' about as He equips and raises leaders. The church is in desperate need of tender hearts to lead the bride of Christ in worship by example, so the movement happens more than we realize. A couple great books with practical know-how for worship planning and leading are "The Worship Architect" by Constance Cherry and "The New Worship," by Barry Liesch. Those two are some of the best I know and should give you stuff you can use tomorrow. Peace of the Lord be with you and have fun!!
Make worship your lifestyle. Sing praise to Him all day! Rehearse the music well before you get to rehearsal.
Then, stop being self-conscious. Stop praying for "you" or for God to help "you" but instead focus on the people who are coming in. Pray for them. Keep your focus on the Lord and on others. Suddenly you won't notice "you" anymore.
what? me worry?
I've got news for you - you've been worship leading for years already! Anyone part of the music ministry is helping to lead worship in my view. Sure it will take time to settle into the new role, but remember you'll be doing what you've always done: using music to point people toward Christ.
Practically, keep the speaking to a minimum so you don't get too flustered. Practice what you want to say, write a script, or only speak what the Holy Spirit prompts you to say. Take some of the pressure off yourself. Or read a passage of scripture to get people thinking about the Lord, something familiar. Again, the aim is to ge tthe pressure off you.
The ultimate worship leader is the Holy Spirit, His job is to point us toward Christ. Follow His lead, and if you aren't already, start spending a LOT more time with Him so that you can feel His leading instantly. He gives us words to speak when we need them.
Hope this helps. . . Steffie
Shalom, Lady T! I commend your courage in taking on the task of leading worship! I have been leading worship for 20+ years in all sorts of settings and I can attest to the difficulty of it. However, it is very rewarding as well to be used by God in this manner, as I'm sure you have found. My advice would be to be true to yourself. There have been many books written on what makes worship authentic or effective and many of them have insights worth considering. Keep in mind: there is no one right way to lead worship and attempting to pattern your leadership after a particular person is never a good idea. It is, however, helpful to observe many worship leaders and refine your own style in light of what you think might work well in your situation. As far as feeling "robotic" when leading...I can understand that. Being stuck singing the melody at all times can feel quite bland, especially when we are used to the colorful world of harmonizing. But the melody must be the most dominant thing the congregation hears, so they know what they are to sing. If they cannot follow the melody, then there is confusion...and where there is confusion, there isn't worship focused on God. Ultimately, of course, do everything with prayer and supplication giving thanks to the Lord and He will bless it. Remember, worship is about Him.