How to lead worship effectively for the first time
Psalm 81:1-3 – Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob! Raise a song; sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp. Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our feast day. Ahhh music! God has been generous to give me the gift of music. I love playing music on guitar. I love listening to others play music. Most importantly, I love participating in a church service while the music is playing and I can focus completely on Him as His house fills with beautiful voices lifted to the heavens like a fragrant offering. God is AWESOME!! Being a worship leader is a wonderful experience and as a leader it is important to do the job right. We as leaders have a great role to play in a church service and there are some things to keep in mind when preparing for and participating in the worship service.
Spending Time With God
As Christians, we are connected to an everlasting life-source, God. He is our strength and spiritual nurturer – Psalm 71:7b – You are my strong refuge. If we are to have our hearts right before God as we enter into leading, we must have a relationship with our Creator. When we spend time in the Word and prayer, we are really telling God that we love Him as our Father and that we love the relationship that we have with Him. When we are growing in God, then we can be confident to enter His house and lead His people in song.
Practice Practice Practice
It is vital that as musicians we know what songs we are playing/singing and that we have put time into playing/singing them before we lead corporate worship. I have learned that even if I have played a song 50 times, I always play better when I have rehearsed it ahead of time. Sometimes things get changed up, such as: omitting verses and singing extra choruses.
Warm Up Before Starting Service
I usually arrive to church 15 minutes before we do a practice run in the morning. This gives me time to set up my equipment and to do a quick run-through of the songs one more time. When doing this I am able to warm up my fingers and get my mind focused on the songs. For singers, the car ride to church is a great time to warm up the vocals.
If you start to get nervous on stage, you may show it. When I first got into leading worship years ago, I would get nervous and my hands and fingers would sweat. Everyone that plays a guitar knows that sweaty fingers drop pics. It is important to remember that you are leading worship for God. The church service is where you bring your worship. So, concentrate on Him. I promise that you will forget about the people when you come into His almighty presence with worship. Everyone else fades away when you concentrate on Him.
Get Good Sleep
A good night’s rest is an amazing tool to help you get going. A proper amount of sleep gives you the energy and stress-relief to start the next day energized. Don’t forget that you are representing the church when you play. If you make mistakes just because you’re tired, it will not look good. Newcomers to a church want to see a church that is alive! So get that rest and show them how much you love God!
This may sound silly but food nourishes the body and mind. With a proper breakfast you will be able to do your best during service. It can be difficult to do anything in life while your stomach is growling at you. Instead of focusing on what you should be, you will focus on fixing your hunger. The focus should be on God. That is why you are there.
This is the biggest one of all. Matthew 5:23-24 says, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. I think that it is also implied that if you have something against someone, you must also forgive them as well before offering your gift. Being able to lead a congregation in worship is a gift, not a monetary one but a spiritual one. This is a very wise verse because if you have something against someone and it is bothering you, you won’t be able to give your entire being to worshiping God. You will be thinking of who wronged you. Even if you cannot get to them to reconcile, you must be able to forgive them anyway and let go of what they have done to you. Then you will be able to participate fully.
I hope and pray these tips will spur you on to strive for excellence. Our God is an awesome God! He deserves our best! God bless!