Worship Leading: Preparing Your Attention

Everyday there are things that demand our attention and things that deserve our attention. Finding the balance between the practical demands of putting on church services and attending to our own personal spiritual well is a great struggle for worship leaders. I know I have found this to be a line of difficulty, the line between musical excellence and active engagement with God in His presence.

Too often, I am guilty of giving my attention to whatever is screaming for it. You’ve been there: the turn into the verse that is a little shaky, that high note on the bridge you’re anticipating to be flat, the lyric computer freezing… all these sometimes-small things scream for our attention. If we give into what demands our attention over the God who deserves our attention, we can begin to measure the success (and the purpose) of church gatherings on accomplishments and not on our encounter with a living God.

So what can we do to focus our mind’s attention and heart’s affection on God and put the rest into proper perspective this Sunday?

Preach the gospel to yourself.

It’s surprisingly easy to forget the powerful truth that while we were still sinners, Jesus Christ died our death, making a way for us to enter into God’s Kingdom! The Gospel isn’t a one time grace, it’s a grace we need constantly; it’s a grace that brings us close and keeps us close. Remember to meditate on this daily, and especially before you walk on a platform to lead. Abide in Christ’s love (John 15: 9-12).

Don’t neglect the secret place of worship.

Engage with God off the platform, just you and the Lord. Sing in your private time to Him and enjoy His love for you. If worship “sounds great” on Sunday but your intimacy with God is neglected, what’s the point? Don’t let “spirituality” become your job or you will end up pulling water from a dry well. Instead, spend time seeking His presence and He will fill your soul. 

Read the Bible for you, not for your job.

I have been guilty of reading my bible in search of truths to share with the church and not in search of truths that will better my relationship and understanding of the nature of God.  Read the Word of God for you, not to just to fulfill the role of a "worship leader." Apart from being rooted in Christ, you cannot bear fruit. His Word is what roots us. 

Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.

The more technically prepared you are, the freer you will be to engage in God’s presence. When you’re worried about the next chord, lyric or song, it will dominate your inner dialogue and become a distraction. In those moments, it’s near impossible to discern the still, small, voice of the Spirit because you are barely keeping your head above water. Put in the work to know the music to the best of your ability so that you can focus your energies on seeking His presence with the Church on Sunday.

Here’s to focusing our hearts and minds on the One who deserves our attention this week!