Tag Archives | What Does a Worship Leader Do?

What Does a Worship Leader Do? In Closing…

I was going to entitle this post “Final Thoughts,” but that’s probably not going to happen. One of the reasons I started this blog was to explore this role in an ongoing way. But this does mark the end of the series on the role of the corporate worship leader. Really. If you’re a musician who is responsible to lead others in praising God, I pray you’ve been served by this series. I’m grateful for those of you who have taken the time to post an encouraging comment, expand upon my thoughts, or ask questions. We need to continually ask ourselves if what we’re doing is lining up with Scripture. On most Wednesday mornings I have the joy …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 16

One more time, this is the definition for a congregational worship leader I’ve proposed: An effective corporate worship leader, aided and led by the Holy Spirit, skillfully combines biblical truth with music to magnify the worth of God and the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, thereby motivating the gathered church to join him in proclaiming and cherishing the truth about God and seeking to live all of life for the glory of God. Today, I’m going to share a few thoughts on that last line. Worship doesn’t begin when the singing starts, nor end when the music stops. We don’t “do worship” in a meeting, nor compartmentalize …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 15

If you’re just joining us, I’m currently describing what I think is the biblical role of someone who leads the church in congregational worship. We’ve covered this in the first 14 posts: An effective corporate worship leader, aided and led by the Holy Spirit, skillfully combines biblical truth with music to magnify the worth of God and the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, thereby motivating the gathered church… Today, I’m going to unpack the next phrase: To join him in proclaiming and cherishing the truth about God. As I mentioned last week, an effective corporate worship leader invites others to join him in what he is already …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 14

Yesterday I talked about the issue of motivating the church to worship God. Judging from the comments yesterday, I’d guess that this is an issue for more than a few leaders. Kevin asked, “If you’re leading worship and the people don’t seem motivated to respond in worship, is that your fault?” The simple answer is no. It is every individual’s privilege and responsibility to give glory to God regardless of what they’re going through or who is leading them. But leaders can do things to hinder people praising God or refrain from doing things that could encourage them. But first, we want to be careful how we define a “successful” …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 11

Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created. (Rev. 4:11) One of the problems we have in worshipping God is forgetting why He is so WORTHY to be worshipped. When we do, our minds tend to shift into neutral and we end up mouthing words that we’re barely thinking about. Part of magnifying God’s worth is recounting the reasons it’s appropriate to worship Him. One way is to recount what Wayne Grudem calls God’s “summary attributes.” Those include God’s perfection, blessedness, beauty, and glory. We can also speak to each other about …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 10

When someone stands (or sits) in front of a congregation to lead them in worshipping God, what’s their goal? I believe it is this: To magnify the worth of God and the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. David invites us in Psalm 34:3: “Oh magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.” When people walk into church service, they might be magnifying all sorts of things, from the superficial to the serious – deadlines, unpaid bills, an unkind comment from a friend, a lab test for cancer that came back positive, a “thump-thump” sound the car is making, the championship game this afternoon, a rebellious child, some besetting …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 9

I want to finish up thoughts today on why God wants us to use music at times to praise Him. I’ve mentioned that music, especially singing, helps us to remember and meditate on God’s word, and also enables us to proclaim truth with heartfelt passion. Finally, We sing to reflect God’s glory. How does singing reflect God’s glory? I can think of at least three ways. First, singing glorifies God by expressing the unity Christ died to bring us. Of course, gathering in the same room at one time expresses unity, as does reciting a creed together. Music both intensifies and demonstrates our appreciation of that unity. I’ve been told on …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 8

I’m in the middle of series on the role of a congregational worship leader, and I’ve been camping out on how music works in worshipping God. Yesterday I addressed how one of the primary functions of music is to help us remember God’s Word. Today, I’d like to share another way music serves us in worshipping God. We sing to respond to God’s grace. Colossians 3:16 tells us that we’re to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with thankfulness in our hearts to God. God is not interested in mere lip service. It dishonors him. But he’s not looking for raw emotionalism either, that is, seeking emotion for its own sake. We sing to express …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 7

If someone wants to lead God’s people effectively in corporate worship, they have to know why God wants us to use music, especially singing. Here’s the first reason I suggested yesterday: We sing to remember God’s Word. It would be natural to assume that we sing because music affects our emotions. But in congregational worship, music is a servant to words. From the time Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit, God’s Word has always been central to the worship of God. God’s Ten Words were placed in the center of Israel’s worship. (1 Kings 8:9) The longest book in the Bible is a collection of words set to music. Revivals …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 6

If a skillful worship leader skillfully combines biblical truth and music, what part does music play? Why is God so concerned that we use music to worship Him? One response comes from Martin Luther. This is a portion of his Forward to Georg Rhau’s Symphoniae iucundae, a collection of chorale motets published in 1538: “Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world. It controls our thoughts, minds, hearts, and spirits…This precious gift has been given to man alone that he might thereby remind himself that God has created man for the express purpose of praising and extolling God. However, when man’s …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 5

We’ve almost reached the place where I talk about what a corporate worship leader is actually supposed to be doing. But not quite. There’s one more thing I want to say about the tools we use to lead congregational worship. An effective worship leader “skillfully combines biblical truth with music.” Skillfully. Skill has been defined as the “the ability to do something well.” With all the benefits of the mass outpouring of worship songs in the past decade, there have been some down sides. One is the belief that a sincere heart, a guitar, and a knowledge of three chords qualifies someone to lead worship in a church. Fortunately, …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 4

Here’s the next part of my proposed definition of a worship leader. An effective corporate worship leader is aided and led by the Holy Spirit. Every leader of congregational worship will acknowledge that biblical worship is impossible apart from the activity of the Holy Spirit. This is at least part of what Jesus meant when he told the Samaritan woman in John 4 that the Father seeks worshipers who worship Him in spirit and truth. Paul also tells us in Philippians 3:3, “For we are the real circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh.” (See also Eph. 2:18, Eph. 5:18-21, and 1 …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 3

Today I want to begin unpacking this proposed definition of a corporate worship leader’s role: An effective corporate worship leader, aided and led by the Holy Spirit, skillfully combines biblical truth with music to magnify the worth of God and the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, thereby motivating the gathered church to join him in proclaiming and cherishing the truth about God and seeking to live all of life for the glory of God. An effective corporate worship leader… If I’m in front of a group, I’m leading. Whether it’s through verbal contributions, facial expressions, or bodily posture, people are following me. That raises …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 2

I’ve gone back and forth over whether I should use “worship leader” in the title of this series. Among other things, using the term can communicate that: 1) the only time we worship God in a meeting is when we’re following the “worship leader” up front 2) congregational worship must be led by a musician 3) worship leaders have some special access into God’s presence that the congregation doesn’t have 4) this is a role that God has commended in His Word. I don’t believe any of the above statements are true. Anyone who seeks to encourage others to give praise and honor to God can be referred to broadly as a “worship …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 1

Before I start this series, I wanted to give you some background. Eight years ago, after I had served as a pastor for twelve years, C.J. Mahaney invited me to assume the new role of “Director of Worship Development” for Sovereign Grace Ministries. One of my assignments was to study and train others in the practicals of biblical worship, particularly as it relates to music. As I studied Scripture and read books like Engaging with God by David Peterson and Adoration and Action, ed. by D.A. Carson, I quickly realized that the Bible, especially the New Testament, didn’t give much space to my role as a worship leader. None, to be exact. The …

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