3 Simple Tips For A Worship Leader

Whether you’re just starting out leading worship, or you’ve been leading for years, it can often be a daunting task.  Sometimes you can feel uninspired and lacking in creativity, or frustrated and unqualified to do the job.  Here’s three simple tips for starters to keep you on the ball, and help you when you lead:light-bulb-2014-500x345.png

1 – Show The Sheep The Shepherd

It’s all about Jesus.  Forget for a minute all your hours of practice, your band arrangements, your sound check, the lights, the monitor mix, your tuning and your performance.  People may be emotionally stirred by these things being done well, but the only thing that can cause people to respond in worship is by having a revelation of Jesus.  Present the person of Jesus, his character, his passion, his love and his works clearly through your songs and your leading.  Nothing will bring a clearer response in peoples hearts than Jesus being revealed to them again and again in clear and fresh ways.

2 – Pursue His Presence Persistently

We were born for relationship with God, and he longs (more than you could perceive) to draw close to his people.  We don’t necessarily ‘sing down his presence’, but through singing truth, we become more dynamically aware of his closeness.

Don’t rush.  Be aware of God working through certain songs, or single lines with songs, where you begin to recognise his closeness pressing in.  Dwell in these moments and enjoy the Creator of the Universe coming close to man.

3 – Surrender Your Soul To The Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the true worship leader, directing and orchestrating our worship back to the Trinity.  The more you lead the music team, the more you will begin to recognise how the Holy Spirit is leading you.  Stay open to where the Spirit is leading – that might be doing a different song to the ones you had chosen, reading a bible verse, repeating a line, bringing a word, a picture or encouragement to the congregation or simply stopping and waiting in silence.

And don’t forget – don’t carry the burden of responsibility by yourself.  The leading of the people ultimately lies with the Holy Spirit, and his gentle works in unlocking, changing and motivating peoples hearts in worship.  You may be a conduit that God uses to help lead the people, but even this responsibility is shared with the rest of the music team, the meeting leader, your church elders and senior leadership team – just stay open and responsive to the Spirit.

SWALK (Sealed With A Loving Kiss)

Worship is not music.  We know that.  Worship is a full-life offering, encompassing all our living.kiss-lips

I was thinking recently as to what our Sunday morning sung worship times should look like, and decided one of the best pictures I could come up with was SWALK.  Do you remember the times when you were at school and that girl or boy that you quite fancied dropped a letter into your bag when you weren’t looking with the letters SWALK written carefully across the sealed envelope?

Sealed With A Loving Kiss.

Your heart would jump and skip at the gesture as you pulled the envelope open to see what romance might be indicated inside.  You would tremble slightly reading the words, and fumble over your choice of actions in response to this move.  After all, you’re only 8 years old, and you can’t afford to take her to Macdonalds yet.

The real message is contained in the words of the letter.   The seal of a kiss on the envelope is a beautiful gesture, yet not as important as the message inside.

And this is the same in our worship.  Your whole life is the ‘love letter’ to God, and the words it contains are by far the most important thing.  Your sung worship is simply the seal over the letter inside.

What value is it to God if your envelope is sealed with the kiss of Sunday morning 10 top worship songs, yet the paper inside remains blank?  Your love letter, your life, is truly what God desires to read – let it be a poetic journey of passion, dedication and sacrifice that encompasses all your living.

Then, and only then, let it be sealed with your song.

 

Do You Noel?

So often we can sing songs, without fully appreciating the meaning – especially common with old hymns, where the language can be old fashioned or complicated.  Sometimes words are used that are no longer in common use.  Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing is a good example where we sing ‘Here I raise my Ebenezer’ – not Ebenezer Scrooge from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but here meaning ‘rock of help’.

noel

So it got me thinking to the Christmas Carols we sing, in particular The First Noel.

Noel, in simple terms is French for Christmas, as in ‘Joyeux Noel’ or Happy Christmas.  So the first Noel, refers to the first Christmas, or the day of Jesus’ birth.

But buried in the etymological history of the word is another glorious meaning…

“A shout of joy at Christmas for the birth of the Saviour”

What a wonderful word!  So in the same way we can sing and shout hallelujah (praise the Lord) or hosanna (a shout of praise, or ‘he saves’), we can use Noel at Christmas time as a shout of joy, to celebrate his birth.  Joyeux Noel to you all!

Coming Back To The Heart Of Christmas

One of our worship leaders sang Matt Redmans Heart of Worship this week and changed the lyrics to “I’m coming back to the heart of Christmas and it’s all about you, all about you Jesus”.

Once the interruption to my ‘auto-worship’ mode had settled, the stinging truth of that one-word alteration began to settle in my heart.  And though the lyric change seemed a little twee, even cheesy, at first, it challenged me to the core again, and focused my worship anew.  And I’m thankful for our worship leader stepping out to make that change.

And when planning for our Christmas services, I came across this clip from the movie The Nativity Story, which again moved me to worship, and to focus on Jesus once again during this festive time.  This clip, I believe, is conveyed in a very reverent, worshipful way and hope it moves you to thank God for Jesus again, as it did me.

Remember why we celebrate Christmas, and take a moment to turn your heart back to Him!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zbo1znOG4ts

4 Things I’ve Learned About Worship Leaders & Musicians

1 – Worship leaders & musicians are human

supermanMany people see those who minister from ‘the platform’ as kind of special.  Surely they are super-spiritual?  Maybe really in tune with God?  They are chosen and the Holy Spirit has bestowed upon them special powers? Use the Force Redman, use the Force!

Nope.  Worship leaders and musicians are real people, with real problems, feelings, and issues.  They wake up in a bad mood like you.  They sleep in like you.  They forget to read their bible, like you. Read more “4 Things I’ve Learned About Worship Leaders & Musicians”

I Surrender All (or maybe 0.4%)

Yes I know you didn’t come here for a maths lesson, but stick with me a minute…100_percent

The terminology we use in church is often wrong when talking about worship.  When we have a correct understanding of worship –  that worship is all of our lives – our sleeping, breathing, thinking, moving of every minute of every day in dedication, honour and love of God, then the phrases we use in church beginning to lose sense.

The ‘worship leader’ should really be a ‘musical worship leader’ – because they are not leading me in worship while I’m at work or with my family etc. but only our time of singing. Read more “I Surrender All (or maybe 0.4%)”

Don’t Forget Your Heart

527617_10151067553230683_626265866_nKids screaming.

Missed breakfast.

No coffee left.

Argued with wife.

Alarm didn’t go off.

Headache.

Drummer is late.

PA guy forgot.

Broken string.

Forgot your music.

Haven’t we all had at least one of the above (or something similar?), and if you’re like me, you may have had more than one on the same morning! Read more “Don’t Forget Your Heart”

Taylor Swift Being Prophetic? – Part 3

Headpones & BibleYou can read part 1 HERE, or part 2 HERE.

After discussing our moral diet that comes from both secular music and other media such as televison, we are left with an important question.

What do we want our souls to feast on?

The easy answer to this question, is the Word of God.  The Bible.  66 books of history, poetry, prophecy, teaching and inspiration, written as a love letter to humanity by God through his people.

But as musicians, worship leaders and songwriters, we need to take this responsibility seriously. Read more “Taylor Swift Being Prophetic? – Part 3”

Who Am I?

What defines you?  What are you known for in your community, your peer group, your church, your work place?

People I’ve known in the past (no names, I promise!) have found their identity in various things: Read more “Who Am I?”

Taylor Swift Being Prophetic? – Part 2

This post is best read in the light of Part 1 which is here.

Part 1 dealt with the music we listen to, and trying to make a consious decision over where we take our moral-food from…what do we digest into our bodies…what nutritional diet does our soul feast on…

This morning, a news story has emerged about an actor called Angus Jones.  Angus is a highly paid performer, starring in one of Americas most popular sitcoms Two And A Half Men.  The controversy surrounding the article is over his declaration that the entertainment program consists of ‘filth’ and that continuing to act in the program is incompatible with his christian beliefs.

Check out a news story HERE or watch a clip from his interview below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=AcZL87J8-xo

This is a brave move from a young guy, who is risking his £200,000+ an episode salary and future working opportunities because he has decided to make a stand for Truth and the moral standards of living set out in the bible.

Having never watched Two And A Half Men, I cannot personally comment on the content of the program, but isn’t this a refreshing stance?

Taylor Swift commented that the songs on the radio are raising this generation, surely the TV is a natural ‘add on’ to this.  If todays moral values of compromise are soaked into the core of our daily TV diet, as well as our music, is it no surprise to see the downward spiraling of generations into ‘not loving your neighbour’, ‘everyone for yourself’ and ‘if it makes me feel good then it must be OK’.

What surprised me is the furious backlash people have had to Angus Jones comments.  Check out the comments at this bottom of this page to read just a few of them.  Where it’s become forbidden to speak out against Islam, suddenly it’s become OK for Christianity to be the easy target.  Because a young man takes a stand for good morals, no compromise and biblical Truth, this is taken as a ‘christian rant’ by a ‘deluded celebrity of limited intelligence who believes in fairy stories’.

Jesus is the only hope!!

I challenge you to also view Angus Jones’ comments in context with his full testimony (which the news outlets have conveniently ignored).  Part 1 and 2 are below.  But before you do, note this quote from Angus from the interview:

“The name of the game right now is compromise…according to the bible, when that happens we’re no longer standing for anything…no longer on the side of the Truth…pick your side now, and you need to be 100% for that…you need to be 100% or nothing at all.”

Part 3 of this blog series is HERE.