Before I start, I should preface by saying if you’re leading worship, you’re in ministry. Regardless of church attendance or equipment used, it’s a big deal and we need to support each other in this journey. Why? As the Church, and further, worship leaders, we can accomplish infinitely more together than we can apart. So, that said, I hope my top 5 tips can serve you well, or maybe someone you know even better. These are not necessarily “right” or “wrong” in my mind, but more things I learned from experience and desire to pass along.
1. GET OUT OF THE GREENROOM
Your weekly stage time is unearned leadership equity. You acquire influence just by standing up there! You often have as much stage time as your pastor, if not more. Take time to invest in the people attending your church, outside of the greenroom. As much as your team of volunteers and musicians might need you, you’ll feel just how much your people need you too… as more than a leader, but a pastor.
2. “GOD, LET ME FEEL THE NEEDS OF MY PEOPLE.”
How do you pick songs? I hope the determining factors are more than just great electric delay lines or synth leads. No, the prayers of your people should motivate the choice. Prayerfully discipline yourself to become aware of the Church’s needs, locally and globally. Don’t be surprised if God trumps your desire to introduce 5 new songs next week to instead play a dated, but timely, song.
3. LIVE OUTSIDE OF YOUR JOB DESCRIPTION
I am a full proponent of boundaries, knowing what you do and don’t do is essential to managing yourself (time, finances, energy) well. However, I would also encourage you to step outside of your written list of 9 to 5 obligations to serve other areas of ministry. What is stirring in the youth department? When's the last time you grabbed lunch with a member of the tech team? Watch how your team begins to strengthen because you went outside of your “job description.”
4. GIVE AND TAKE AWAY
“Walk worthy of the calling you have received.” –Ephesians 4:1. As quickly as your excitement came for getting the position as “worship leader,” the disappointment of losing it can come just as fast. Go check out the book of 1 Timothy 3, it’s a solid list of things to keep in mind to honor your position in ministry. As a leader, you are held to a higher standard. It may not be “fair,” but it’s only natural when you have influence for people to examine your character and the decisions that reflect it. Remember, if we have integrity, nothing else matters. If we don’t have integrity, nothing else matters. Fight for integrity.
5. WHAT YOU SEE, THEY SEE
Have a VISION for your team. Ask yourself, “Why do we do what I do? What is my purpose in leading worship?” Create a mission statement and share it with your worship team and pastor. Leadership guru Patrick Lencioni says, "[Visions and values] serve as cultural cornerstones and must never be compromised." Your vision and hope for your community will influence the shape of your worship team culture. So, what do want to be the thing that brings your team time, and time again, to the stage? What is the heartbeat of your church? Write it, memorize it, live it by it. Stay the course.
Guest post by John Maguire
John grew up in Gainesville, FL and attended Oceans Edge School of Worship in September 2009. Before joining the the CCFL worship staff, John was a worship pastor at LifeChurch.tv Wellington. He assists with our lighting and stage design, leads worship at all our campuses, and is involved in development of worship leaders. For more about John, follow him on Instagram/Twitter @_JohnMaguire_