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Worship Leader Make-Over: Defining the Goal of a Worship Leader

The clock on the wall says it’s 9:55.  People are hurriedly making their way into the sanctuary from classrooms, conversations, the coffee bar, or the parking lot.   If the service has a band,  the musicians are tuning up, and everyone on the team is making sure their songs are in order.  The sound team is running last-minute checks and putting a battery into the one mic that is dying, The video team is making sure everything is ready.   It’s 10:00am and the time has come.  It is time to worship.

What happens next?   All kinds of things.  It depends on your church tradition and background.  It has a LOT to do with the worship leaders themselves and what they think should happen. 

Let me phrase today’s discussion this way:  If you are a worship leader, what is your goal when you lead the congregation in worship?  Where is it you are leading the congregation?  How do you know when you get there?   Put another way:  What is the point of corporate worship?  Why have we gathered in the first place?  What does God expect from us as we gather to worship Him?

I have been to many worship services and have led some myself, where there was no lofty goal guiding the service.    Henry David Thoreau once said

“In the long run men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim at something high.”


We only hit what we aim at.  Isn’t that the truth!  As worship leaders, we should be aiming very high when we stand before God’s people to lead them in worshipping Him.   So, my worship leading friend, what are you aiming at when you lead the congregation?  Allow me to share what I believe the scriptures teach us we SHOULD be aiming at when we lead worship.  To understand this, we will briefly look at the three common terms used to describe worship in the Bible.  We will wrap up with a definition.  

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Worship Leader Make-over: Laying the Foundation

To this day I believe I was set up!  Those who know the truth, may one day come forward and acknowledge what they did.  Until then, I will never know for certain.

I was a young Christian, and had just arrived at my second visit to what we  called “Mini-church.”  It was a home-group, but back in those days, they were very uncommon and this one had 40 people in it. 

During my first visit, someone found out I played guitar.   Ten minutes before the start of this second meeting, one of my new-found friends approached me with the con:  “Jim, our normal guitar player is not going to be here on time, would you mind playing guitar during worship tonight?”  Yeah, I would mind , I thought.  I don’t know any of the songs, and I don’t have a guitar.   Practically reading my mind, he told me that the regular guitar player had “just happened” to leave his guitar at the house we were meeting in and I could use his.  Without waiting for my answer, Mike handed me the guitar and pointed me to the back room where the singers and the flute player were running through the songs.   I was trapped with no means of escape.

How did it go?  In my opinion, it was a horrible train wreck.  I did not know any of the songs, and the charts were absolutely no help!  So I winged it.  Everybody could tell!  When the meeting was over, Cathy (the flute player) asked me if I would like to be the regular guitar player.   Now I ask, does that seem like a set up to you?

For some reason, I still don’t know why,  I said yes!   That is how I got started leading worship.   Twenty-four years later I have led worship all over the world… Read the rest of this entry