Worship Pastors and their Teams by Carl Cartee
Overview of Worship Leadership Training
Worship leaders have an opportunity to paint a picture of eternity to reveal how beautiful and powerful God is. Worship can be defined as the mind’s attention and the heart’s affection expressed. Biblical worship is both individual and corporate worship. In each worship service, you as a worship leader should focus on communicating the one thing people in the congregation need to know, what they need to do and how you can help them remember it.
Your Identity as a Worship Leader
You are a child of God and you are chosen, royal and purchased. You are called, not so much to accomplish but to worship. You must be worshipping before you can lead others to worship. Work on your job, you’ll make a living. Work on yourself, you’ll make a fortune. Don’t stay where you are at. God invites us into his work, not because we are needed, but because we are loved.
Your Role as a Christian Leader
Don’t let there be a disconnect between what you say at church and what you do in the world. In order to lead people beyond your title, you must earn their trust by making your life and words line up. When you depend on your title alone as worship pastor, you are being a fixture, not a shepherd. Prioritize time with God. Your calling is to a journey, not a destination. Bearing fruit requires time and effort, not from trying to cut the process short by copying someone else. Don’t try to make people happy, make them disciples. Pray that God will nurture in you an inward passion that transcends outward appearance.
Your Spiritual Uniform
If you are insecure, the temptation is to be nervous about what the people in the congregation are thinking rather than concentrating on having an attitude of compassion. Humility is the opposite of insecurity and you discover it in God's presence. One way to demonstrate kindness is to spend 30 seconds each with as many people as possible before you lead worship. You perform from a stage, you influence from a platform. Trajectory of a Christian leader is not an ascent into fame and influence but a descent into obscurity and service.
Design a Worship Service
Creativity and thought can make an experience memorable. Core truths of the Christian belief are God is holy, man is sinful, grace is amazing and Jesus is the hope of the world. It can be valuable to include durable and well-thought-out ancient confessions and creeds. We learn theology through well-written hymns. Be prayed up, punctual, and prepared. Worship is a relational encounter with God and others. We don’t build temples, we dig wells.
Engage People in Worship
Different people often view the same experience in different ways. People may be deeply moved even though they don’t express it outwardly. Earn trust short term by using a welcome using gestures you use daily, like a smile or a nod or a greeting. Think of things that are universally welcoming. You need to break down resistance, curiosity, reluctance. Earn long-term trust by representing the bible well over time and musical integrity and proficiency. Be careful about “barking orders” right away. Tend the flock rather than driving cattle. Don’t force-feed people information but offer them a meal. Rather than be a cheerleader, encourage and invite people to have an encounter with Christ. Make your body language match what your mouth is saying. Open your eyes to connect with people. Body language can also help non-musical people participate and sing. Use your music to take people on a connected journey. Try to add familiarity in everything you do.
What to Say as a Worship Leader
Use words purposefully (Prov 12:18, 10:19). The worship leader is often the second most influential person in the church so your words carry weight. Prepare your introduction. Invite people in by telling them what is about to happen and by telling them, who you are, what you are about to do and why you are doing it.
Singing Songs and Song Writing
We sing individually, corporately and worldwide. There is always music somewhere in the world. Music and singing help connect affection for God and truth about God in one unified expression. Make it simple and nourishing. For a new song, introduce it three weeks in a row as a new song. Maybe even play through the chorus first to let people hear what a segment of the song sounds like.
Common Questions and Best Practices
Introduce a song as new for 3 weeks in a row. Introduce people to parts of the song the first few times. When choosing songs, think of yourself as your congregation’s spiritual dietician and give them a balanced diet across a range of emotions and thought. The best songs seem to be ones that people can sing with and engage with. Know who you are leading worship for. Establish an understanding of how they hear you vs needing to say what you think. Respect the direction of the pastor. If you are younger than the pastor, you earn their respect by your character. Three levels of communication with your worship team: 1. Information, 2. Encouragement, 3. Insight. Pray for what you envision for your congregation. Christianity is not purely a thought, it’s the expression of thought…the Word became flesh.
Questions from a Pastor
Questions about how a pastor and worship leader can work together to create a seamless worship experience and model working together in relationship.