You probably didn’t wake up thinking, “How can I be the biggest failure possible today?”
We never set out to fail.
But when left unchecked, it’s easy for us to develop bad habits that take us where we don’t want to go.
As a worship leader myself, I’ve found that failure has a lot more to do with how we handle the small stuff behind the scenes, than it does with what happens on stage.
So here are 10 ways to ensure you fail as a worship leader. Reader, beware:
1. Leave God Out Of It
We all know how easy it is to go on autopilot – to just go through the motions. But when it comes to leading worship, we need God more than anything. We can’t just rely on our experience, talent or routines.
2. Don’t Communicate
Any artistic person falls prey to this. Don’t leave your team out of the loop. Don’t just coast from service to service. Err on the side of over-communication. Speak your vision constantly. Call team members, just to see how they’re doing. Care for your people.
3. Forget Others, Focus On Yourself
Your worship team is not a platform for you to shine. Focus your energy on raising others up and releasing them into ministry.
4. Ignore Technology
Many of us, in our zeal for something real, limit ourselves. We refuse to take musical and technological risks for fear of distracting from worship. What’s something you haven’t tried before? From creating loops, using a click track, trying new lighting, to plugging in an iPad - take a new risk. It may just help open up a new facet of worship for your team and congregation.
5. Leave Theology to the Preachers
Theology isn’t just for the preachers. If you’re not pursuing an ever-expanding view of God and immersing yourself in the Word of God, your worship leading will suffer. How can you lead people to a God you don’t care to know?
6. Ignore Your Pastor’s Vision
If you’re artsy, you know you have a hard time submitting to authority, particularly if they don’t seem to understand you. However, there’s nothing more important than for you to submit to the vision of your Senior Pastor. He’s been given a vision for your Church. He understands where God is taking your church. Humble yourself and carry it out with passion.
7. Lead Out of Routine, Not Vision
If today you have vision, tomorrow it will be gone. Vision is a flame that needs stoked every day – not just for yourself, but for your team. Don’t fall into the routine of rehearsal, service, rehearsal, service. Give your team a vision worth dying for.
8. Don’t Worship. Fake It.
The more you lead worship, the easier it is to fake it. Which is why personal worship is more important the more you lead. If you want to be effective, your personal worship needs to outshine your public worship. Spend time with Jesus every day and put that on display when you stand before your congregation.
9. Make Your Music Confusing
This can be such a tension. Musicians need to stretch their creativity to stay engaged, but the congregation needs something simple to engage with. When in doubt, err on what is congregational. Corporate worship is about the people of God engaging with the presence of God for the glory of God. If your music is confusing and keeps people watching, something needs to change. Invite them into the experience. Engage them in worship.
10. Be Unprepared
How many rehearsals have I attended with an unprepared worship leader? I’d rather not count. There’s nothing more frustrating than attending a rehearsal where the stage isn’t ready, the music not thought through, the leader clueless. Think through your rehearsal with focused organization. Be 100% prepared and ready. Your team will love you for it.
Nobody is the perfect worship leader. We are all on a journey. There’s grace if you mess up.
But, I would say the work of leading people to encounter God’s greatness is worth our greatest effort. That makes our development worth it, wouldn’t you say?
What are some other ways we can fail as worship leaders?
[Image via STOCK.XCHNG]