The Cross Matters: How To Lead Effective Worship In 2012

Originally published at – republished with permission.

Worship leader, as you take your first few steps in 2012, there’s something you can’t forget.

Something as essential to your success as breathing is to your life.

The cross.

In the midst of technical upgrades, vocal improvements, increased innovation, and better songs, don’t forget about the reason and basis for your ministry.

Without the cross, you can’t draw near to God.

Without the cross, your worship gathering is pointless.

Without the cross, you have nothing.

The reason you do what you do is because Jesus died. But you also can’t do what you do without the death of Jesus Christ.

He made a way for you and your congregation to draw near. Yes, corporate worship is a miracle.

What Is Success For A Worship Leader?

I don’t cry much.

But I remember when worshiping God used to bring me to tears. I was overcome, overwhelmed by the greatness of God. Somewhere between those tears and today’s stress, I’ve been desensitized.

Worship has become more of a job than a privilege.

So today I’m reminding myself, and reminding you: As you dream and strategize in 2012, be sure to breathe dependence on Christ.

The songs you write, the vision you cast, the leadership you model only works if you stay dependent.

Yes, I want you to be innovative and awaken your potential. Write amazing songs. Build a successful blog. Learn a new instrument. Go on tour.

But all those good things don’t define success. In the grand scheme of eternity, it doesn’t matter how talented you are.

Your effectiveness as a worship leader depends on your closeness to the cross.

How Close Are You?

Here are 5 questions to help gauge where you are:

1. When I hear about Jesus, do I treat it like old news?

2. Is my heart alive in the truth?

3. Am I still engaged with God’s word?

4. Do I speak often of the work of God in my life?

5. Do I look forward to worship for the simple reason of being with Jesus?

I don’t know what it is about human nature, but we stray from the truth so easily. The hymn writer was correct when he said:

“Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; prone to leave the God I love”

Success as a worship leader is based on closeness with Christ, not simply playing tight music – living near the cross, not singing the best songs.

As you seek to improve your skills, don’t neglect the weightier matters of the heart. For therein lies your true success.