Music

Ministry Principles for Worship Leaders

21 Oct , 2015   Written By: Evan

Before you read any further, let me give you this little disclaimer. This isn’t an article that is designed to improve your singing ability or streamline how you teach your praise team their harmony. This article is for teaching basic principles for a worship leader. These four principles are something that I have learned through my time worship leading. They have been learned the hard way might I add. I share these with you now in the hopes that I can save you some of the hurdles that I have experienced in my ministry.

To all that read this, I hope that this article is something that helps you in some way, shape or form. I understand the need for knowledge to be shared because I was where some of you are today. Forging ahead on a path that is seemingly never been navigated. Trust me, it has and others made it through unscathed and you will too.

The principles that I’ll be sharing in this article are things that I have either learned through my own experience, or have seen others face in their ministry. Not all of these apply to everyone. Take into consideration those that you feel may help you with your ministry.

1) Prayer Life and Relationship are Essential.

It’s such a basic thought, that often times it’s overlooked. If you are involved in the music at your local church, chances are that you are a very busy person. We are always having practices, learning new songs, and if you’re the music director as well, but you have a whole other set of problems that don’t even involve the actual church service. In these instances it’s easy to lose track of your prayer life and daily devotions. In the past few weeks, my wife and I have called on our music department to undergo a recommitment, with it leading to everyone re-signing the platform commitment forms. Every so often, and with new members joining the team, it’s important that we take an inventory of our motives and actions, and recommit ourselves to God and His purpose for us. During this time, a great friend of mind, and a minister in our church shared a poetic, yet simple thought. He said “People often mistake service for relationship.” It’s something that I hadn’t spent a lot of time pondering, but when I thought back to past situations, it became ever so clear. I have seen so many people that have started out in ministry and over time their relationship diminishes. We have to remember that we are called to be His before anything else. The anointing that is on our lives has a direct correlation with the relationship that we have with him.

We must remember that this relationship is not only the pathway to anointing, but it’s also essential to salvation.

We must remember that this relationship is not only the pathway to anointing, but it’s also essential to salvation. Although this thought doesn’t pertain to the worship leading aspect, it’s important to remember. If people will be turned away even though they were casting out devils in his name, don’t you think it would be possible to be turned away if you’re a worship leader. It’s not like you’re going to get a free pass because you lead worship at a big event. It requires a relationship. That relationship will change you. God speaking to you through his word, will make you a better leader. Taking the time to pray and fast will allow you to enter into new realms of the spirit that you never thought possible. Remember, the calling of worship leader is a spiritual one. Therefore we must be well versed in the things of the spirit. That is where the relationship makes a huge difference.

2) Must be subject to their Pastor.

This is a relatively basic concept, but again, its importance cannot be understated. Bro. Nathaniel Urshan wrote an amazing article about “The Role of the Music Department in Building a Church.” In this article, he discusses the importance of the worship leader or music director being under their pastor. He brings out some incredible points. If you haven’t read that, you should read it {here}. In my life, I have seen different music ministers and worship leaders undermine their pastor on different decisions and occasions. In these instances, the leader always feels justified often stating that “He’s just wrong.” This attitude is a cancer and it will spread. We have to be careful what we say or think toward and about our pastors. We may not agree with their methods or decisions, but they are the God-given authority in our lives and we must be subject to him. If you find yourself questioning his decisions or motives, you should take a step back and examine yourself. In the book of Exodus, Korah, and his followers, rebelled against Moses under the guise of being more spiritual than those in leadership. This situation didn’t end to well for Korah and his followers. The ground opened up and swallowed him and all those that followed him. This is a great example of what can enter into the heart of man, and how that heart can lead to their destruction.

We have to remember that our pastor’s have the vision for the church. We have to be sold out to that vision to make it work.

We have to remember that our pastor’s have the vision for the church. We have to be sold out to that vision to make it work. If we’re not, we’re just a hindrance to our pastor and those that we lead. We have to remain loyal to our pastor, his family, and the leadership in the church. Being subject to God-given authority is a biblical principle that she be followed and adopted by all believers, not just worship leaders.

Simply put, people will not respect a leader that isn’t willing to serve. The respect of the members of your church is essential to your ability to lead and this respect can only be earned not demanded.

3) Must be willing to serve within our callings as music ministers, worship leaders, and everything else in between.

There was first a call to be a servant. We are in our positions to serve God and those around us. There should never be a task that is below us as servants. If there is a church work day, we should be there. If there is a special event that the music department isn’t being used in, we should always try out best to be involved. It’s important for us to be examples in our local assembly. The amount of respect you have in your church will affect the influence you have leading worship and leading in general. Simply put, people will not respect a leader that isn’t willing to serve. The respect of the members of your church is essential to your ability to lead and this respect can only be earned not demanded.

Service to those around us means that we are willing to go beyond ourselves to see others become better musicians, singers, leaders, people, etc. We must remember that even though this may not be something that comes easily, we should always strive to keep this a main principle in our ministry. Service to the kingdom extends to the development of those under our direction. As a leader we should be pushing to see others grow both in their relationship with God, and their natural life as well. People in today’s world will look to their leaders to be examples, and what better example could you give than to be a servant.

Our true colors should shine brightest when were alone, worshiping God.

4) Must be an Example in Personal Praise and Worship.

This is something that I guess could be considered a pet peeve of mine. I hate to see talented musicians, singers, and worship leaders sit back during someone else’s worship set or church service. Not only is this incredibly disrespectful to the group that is attempting to lead worship at the event or service you’re attending, but it also allows people to see where your heart truly lies. If you only worship when you lead or sing, you aren’t a true worshiper. Take King David for example. David would play his instrument, worshiping God, while he was tending to his fathers sheep. His heart was truly centered around God and worshiping him. Since David showed that he was able to worship when he was alone with Him, God later chose David to worship on a bigger stage when he brought the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem. Our true colors should shine brightest when were alone, worshiping God. David understood the meaning of “True Worship.” He understood what it meant to share those alone times worshiping God. The time you spend alone playing your instrument or singing to God will sometimes surpass the feeling you get leading thousands into worship. The reason is simple: True worship is an intimate occasion. It’s a time spent telling God how much you love and appreciate him. This love shines through when you are worshiping God for yourself. If you can’t worship with others, but yet you get extremely frustrated when they don’t worship with you, you have a heart problem. The problem lies with your intimate relationship with God.

I remember a few years ago, I was at National Youth Convention, an amazing youth event hosted by the ALJC. There were some incredible musicians, singers, and worship leaders. At one of the night services, there was a band and praise team under the direction of Bro. Luke St.Clair and Bro. Dan Mundy. Let me tell you, the singers were incredible and the musicians were on point. My love for music took the forefront in that instance as I stood there staring in amazement. My mind swirled with thoughts of how incredible the musicians were. If you’re anything like me, you get an extremely large amount of joy out of good music. When I hear a “nasty groove”, my heart is filled with so much joy. This could be considered an downfall by some. So, after a subtle, yet meaningful nudge from my wife, I snapped out of it and finally began to worship. The reason I tell you this story is because, that morning, my wife and I lead the same group of people in worship. What would they have thought if they would have seen my in that moment just drifting off into space. This goes back to being an example for those that we lead and others that look up to us. We have to be careful that our actions are “becoming of the gospel” like the author wrote in the book of Acts. Even if the meaning behind my stare was one of admiration, the act could have been seen by some as arrogance.

We have to maintain a lifestyle of worship no matter where we are or what we are doing. David wrote that “HIS praises shall continually be in MY mouth.” He was saying that the praise belongs to God, but I am the one that can give it to him. I have to remember that before I am a worship leader, I am a worshiper.

We have to maintain a lifestyle of worship no matter where we are or what we are doing. David wrote that “HIS praises shall continually be in MY mouth.” He was saying that the praise belongs to God, but I am the one that can give it to him. I have to remember that before I am a worship leader, I am a worshiper.

If you make these principles a part of your ministry, you will be able to tell a difference. Remember that adopting these principles will not result in an overnight change, but over time will be able to see a marked difference in your life. Remember, there are many other things that a Worship Leader must do and these really are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ministry essential principles. That being said, these basics will lay the ground work for you to become the leader that God has called you to be.

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