Leading Worship: A Simple Definition

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What does leading worship mean? How does someone lead worship?

Leading worship can be summed up in two simple phrases:

Love God. Love Others.

When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus told his followers that loving God with everything they had was the greatest. He added that a second commandment that was like the first was loving your neighbor as yourself.

Looking at this response we can apply it to¬†every area of our life. Unsure about whether something is in “God’s plan” or his “Kingdom will” for your life? Run it through the “love God, love people” filter. Is it something that allows you to primarily bring glory to God? Does it also allow you to love others around you?

Leading worship is as simple as loving God and loving others.

Loving God:

You can’t lead worship without worshiping God yourself. So loving God first is where a worship leader should start. You could surely lead SINGING without worshiping, but leading singing well, does not make you a worship leader.

If you don’t seek to bring glory and honor to God first, then you are not leading the worship of God, but the worship of yourself. Our focus has to be on bringing an offering of worship that is pleasing to God. That doesn’t mean the finest music, or the most amazing skills, or the most beautiful appearances. It means a heart of obedience. A heart that is grounded in a relationship with the Lord. The other stuff falls into place when worship begins in the heart.

Loving Others:

If you don’t see your worship leading as serving others, then you’re still not leading the worship of God. Leading worship is not about what YOU can get out of it. It is about glorifying God and helping others to glorify God. Loving others through worship leading is all about creating a space where your family can express their worship through song and prayer without distraction. They shouldn’t be distracted by your fine music, by your amazing skills, or by the way you look (good or bad).

Leading worship is simple. There are no 12 step formulas to become a great worship leader. Jesus tells us over and over that to become “great” we should actually become less. The way to love God and to love others fully is to allow the HOLY SPIRIT to lead through us. We open our hearts and hands to him and allow him to lead. We step out of the way, so to speak.

Our first “task” in leading worship when we step up to the mic or strap a guitar on is to follow the Holy Spirit’s lead…

Love God. Love others.



is the Associate Director of Worship & Media at St. Simons Community Church, where he mentors, oversees and helps lead Family and Student worship environments. He is also the content curator and editor here at The Worship Community and at HighestPraise.com.

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