For awhile I’ve been telling the folks on the worship team at my church to remember that they are always leading worship.
In fact, I prefer the negative form:
You are never not leading worship.
You see, once you embrace your role as a leader, you no longer always get to choose when and how people respond to you.
In fact, I think it’s just best to assume that—on Sundays especially—people are always observing you, and therefore you always have the chance to “lead worship”, whether you’re on stage or not. You are always leading, so here’s a few ways to lead worship from “around the room”:
- In the Parking Lot or Lobby: How do you conduct yourself before people know your gifts? Do you make an effort to get to know people? If “Leadership” is a part of “Worship Leading”, than we have to keep in mind that leadership is inherently relational. Saying “hi” to people far away from the stage increases people’s relational connection to you, which leads to trust, which increases your ability to help facilitate their experience with God.
- In the Back of the Room: Or the side. Or in the front pew. How do you worship when you are not on stage? Is your experience of God as dynamic and vital off the stage as it is on the stage? Because people may be watching you. It’s about authenticity; it’s about saying, “This time—this response to God—is really this important whether I’m on stage or not.”
(p.s. This means that you’re actually in the room, and not hiding in the green room or sleeping in…)
- Backstage: What attitudes are you fostering among your band members? Are you bringing to life the same things within your team that you sing about in front of your community? What do rehearsals feel like? Are they relational, gospel-centered?
- In the Tech Booth: When I visit churches, I carefully watch the tech teams: the audio, lighting, and graphics people. These individuals are usually the best barometer of the spiritual and emotional health of your worship team. How are you leading them? Are you treating them with respect, and seeking to understand their needs and perspective?
Like it or not, once you embrace leadership, you step into a spotlight that seldom dims. People are watching you, and you will influence—lead them—their response to God in every interaction that you have with people.
You are never not leading worship. This is a great opportunity; steward it well.