One of the most engaging parts of most church services is the worship time. And undoubtedly, the Worship Leader plays an integral part of the worship experience. Yet some Worship Leaders try to do too much. In their well-meaning attempt to lead a Spirit-directed, Christ-centered, God-glorifying worship time, they add needless elements that actually distract from what they’re trying to do. Here are four types of Worship Leaders that need to do less to accomplish more.
The Extreme Focuser
This may sound counter-intuitive, and perhaps even sacrilegious, but during the worship time the Worship Leader should not focus solely on God. He or she should also focus on the audience. The clarifying question church leaders need to ask is, what’s the main role for the Worship Leader? Is his role to worship God, first and foremost? Or is it to lead others in worship? Should the Worship Leader be a “Sightseer,” focusing exclusively on the majesty of God? Or should he be a “Tour Guide,” recognizing the splendor and majesty of our Creator and pointing it out to others? Psalm 34:3 says “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.” When we magnify the Lord, we publically proclaim his greatness and show his beauty and character to others.
This is the Worship Leader that keeps her eyes closed. All the time. Similar to the Extreme Focuser, the Sleeper doesn’t see her audience and isn’t aware that they are looking at her for their cues. She feels that worshipping with her eyes closed is somehow “better.” While she may be worshipping God, she’s not magnifying him because she’s not connecting with the audience. The Sleeper needs to open her eyes, smile, radiate joy, and engage her audience.
This type of Worship Leader goes out of his way to make sure the audience understands the meaning, background, and his personal thoughts about the next song. When introducing a solo or some form of special music, the Explainer adds unnecessary verbiage like “Just listen to the words,” or “This song is so special to me.” Of course it is. Otherwise you wouldn’t be singing it! I’ve sat through explanations of songs that were longer than the song itself. The Explainer needs to let the lyrics speak for themselves. Stop adding to the song. It only creates clutter.
This Worship Leader shouts out the lyrics that are coming next in the song. Especially after the chorus and heading into the next verse. Often due to nervousness, the Shouter is afraid of any portion of a song where she is not singing. At times, a well-placed few words to the audience can be helpful and encouraging. But, unless you’re leading worship at an outdoor campfire with no songbooks, Worship Leaders don’t need to shout out the upcoming lyrics. Yes, people need to know what’s coming, but that’s why Power Point and Pro Presenter were invented.
If you’re a Worship Leader, or aspire to be one, keep in mind that while your role is important, your main concern is to magnify God. Like a Tour Guide showing a bus load of sightseers the beauty and grandeur of the Grand Canyon, your job is to point out the wonders and majesty of God. Know your subject matter, stay engaged with your audience, and don’t try to do too much. If you follow this advice, you may end up showing your audience a previously unknown, yet beautiful aspect of the character of God.