Worship Leaders – “Get out of your own way”

Ben Richter of The Museum was recently asked to write a blog for young worship leaders on ChurchLeaders.com

I don’t pretend to have all the answers, and when it comes to leading worship I hope I never stop learning.  We’ve been blessed to lead worship for a lot of conferences, camps and church events the past couple years and I’m constantly running into young worship leaders that ask “how did you get to do this?”  So here’s five thoughts for young worship leaders out there!   

1.  Be faithful in the little things.

If there’s one thing I can encourage you in the most, it’s simply to be faithful where you are.  Don’t be the guy that looks at your church as a stepping stone to bigger and better things.  Don’t let your dreams get in the way of God’s purpose for His church.  If God has you in front of 14 people or 40,000 – give them your whole heart every week.

2.  Pride is the crutch of the insecure.

I’ve known a lot of worship leaders, and I know myself – it’s easy to struggle with pride.  Usually we put on pride to cover up our insecurity.  Chances are if you’re half way decent, you’ll constantly have people in your church coming up to you telling you how great you are.  How they like your new song better than Chris Tomlin’s.  The scariest thing is when we start to believe it.  The best way to stay humble is constantly look for opportunities to serve.  Serve your pastor or youth leader by helping put out the chairs before service.  Serve the sound guy by rolling cables and leaving a clean stage.  Serve the janitors by picking up trash afterward.  I’d go as far as go out of your way to do it when no one notices, it’s amazing how we even become prideful about serving when we want other people to see it.  Keep in mind the greatest ministry opportunity God may have for you today may very well be off the stage.

3.  Take the mirror out of the green room.

Ok, so maybe your church doesn’t even have a “green room” – maybe your green room is the janitors closet you pray in before service… but either way – the point is – worship is a matter of the heart more than outward appearance.  I know sometimes a mirror can come in handy to make sure you don’t have a giant broccoli unit between your bicusplds before heading out on stage, but nowadays I feel like “worship leader” has become it’s own fashion statement.  You know what I’m talking about… it’s either the fancy glasses with no prescription, or the flawless hair held perfectly in place for camera, the christian tattoo peaking thru the brim of that V-neck.  Then there’s the right skinny jeans, the cool hat & shoes…  You get the point.  Don’t get me wrong – there’s certainly nothing wrong with looking your best on stage – you should.  Just don’t turn into that guy that’s more concerned with your image on livestream than actually leading people to a personal encounter with Jesus.  May your character and heart always outweigh your talent and image.

4.  Put down the music stands and lyric monitors.

I know it sounds crazy, but actually memorize the lyrics and chords.  You can’t be fully involved both worshipping and leading others to do so if you’re caught up in what the next lyric or chord change is.  Regardless of how you feel about Kobe Bryant (one of the best basketball players to ever play the game), I heard him say a great quote recently.  “I have every advantage on the court because of how I prepare off the court.”  Let your preparation off the stage be what leads you to offer your best on the stage.

5.  Lastly – know your role.

As worship leaders we’re here to lead people to an encounter with Jesus – then get out of the way.   Don’t get too caught up in having to learn the latest greatest in worship songs and overwhelm your church with too many unknown songs.  Simply give them Jesus and get out of the way.