You’ve prepared an amazing, life-giving sermon for the week. In fact, this may be the most powerful message you’ve brought them all year! As you step into the sanctuary to the sound of praise and worship, you know you have 10-15 minutes before you begin your message.
Look around the room. The music sounds great. The people are responding to the lyrics. The worship leader sure is fired up this morning! Maybe too excited, if there is such a thing. Or maybe not enough, as the case may be.
Before your message starts, the worship leader’s role is to engage your congregants and get them excited to hear the word you have for them. The worship team provides the initial spark of joy and praise to the room, building the collective emotion into a beautiful outpouring of gratitude and belonging. But in some cases, the worship leader—whether due to a glitch in the sound system, an ill-fitting song selection, or a lack of connection with your churchgoers—can turn your audience off before you even take your place at the pulpit.
How do you prevent that from happening? With careful planning, education, and observation. Of course, life happens and there will be weeks where nothing goes as planned. But those should be kept to a minimum if you and your team truly work together to bring out the best in each other.
- Whenever possible, choose songs that support your message for the day.
- If possible, have the worship team arrive early to rehearse the songs to minimize sound issues and discrepancies in lyrics and parts, and to allow them time to fellowship.
- A sloppy worship service can do more harm than good, so choose a worship leader who is punctual, a good leader, and is comfortable with high-stress and unexpected situations.
- Encourage your worship leader (and team) to match their singing style to your congregation. In order for the people to get involved in the praise and worship, they must feel comfortable with the atmosphere and encouraged to participate.
- A great worship leader will be able to display a range of emotions, according to the lyrics and tone, and help prepare the congregants’ hearts.
- If your worship service feels more like a concert with a solo artist and a few hundred fans than a community of participatory believers, it’s time to make some changes.
- Look at your congregation during praise and worship, especially their faces and their body language. Are they engaged or are they yawning? After a few songs, are they in the right frame of mind to hear your word?
- Tailor your opening sentences to what you witness in the audience and what you feel from the room. If the mood is heavy, acknowledge it and address it with grace. If the people are energized, feed off of that.
A winning worship service is one that not only touches your congregants but that also inspires you!