Ok so I’ve been a travelling worship leader for over 18 months now, I have the privilege to go into a number of churches across different denominations and encourage and build into worship teams. Some of them are a full band with multiple instrumentalists and vocalists, others more intimate. Whilst they’re are all so very different in their own right, many of them have a similar thread of quandaries.
If you missed part 1 – click here.
Try New Things
I love being itinerant because I’m able to bring something new to teams who might be stuck or don’t know how to move forward. A church I went to had a guy singer who I’d met previously and knew he rapped. When I came to visit I asked him if he was going to rap for us tonight. He thought I was joking, I quickly responded with “What have you go to loose? It’s rehearsal, let’s give it a try!” He on the spot wrote a rap while I sung the chorus to 10,000 Reasons under him, we dovetailed and then invited the congregation to join us. It was new territory and I don’t know if they’ll do it again, but the point is – they tried something new. It was scary, but fun and it explored his clear gifting in rapping. My heart delighted as I watched him worship God in a new way in his context. You might find your trying something new is introducing instrumentals in songs to create space. It might be having communion weekly instead of sporadically to unifying the body around Christ. You might find switching to acoustic services is a necessary thing as you’ve begun to focus on performance as a larger team. You might want to include an artist painting prophetically during the service. Add a new instrument: violin, cello, harmonica… You might want to get people there on time and so create a coffee ministry before church. God is gifting you with ideas, try some of them out. It’s good to try new things out, don’t be afraid of change or of it failing miserably. Give it a go – keep what works, toss what doesn’t. Look at why you do things the way you have done them for the last decade and see if you can spice it up, add new techniques or elements. I’ve consistently see that half the time when I ask why a team does something the way they do it, they have no idea why! So knowing you’re not along take some time as a team to reflectively figure out the why and together form the what that can be adapted with new ideas and new peoples input.
Don’t Just Be A Singer
This has been one of the hardest things as a professionally trained singer as it is easy sometimes to go into churches who might not be physically expressive and instantly go into performance mode because the connection with the congregation is not “felt”. What God has been unravelling in me is He is doing something, even in the people with their hard stare and arms folded. God is up to something in your church, and it’s our job as worship leaders to draw that out. Just being a singer is passively leading, so get your brave on and set your stance on the authority God has given you to lead His people clearly. Timid leaders lead timid congregations, so rise up and lead with new boldness. Prepare verbal transitions so you are equipping your church to know how to respond. A lot of the time the church hasn’t had teaching on worship in song and don’t actually know what to do or how to navigate those moments. Find scriptures that back up what worship is all about, explain how the lyrics came about for a song for example: It Is Well is a beautiful hymn and when you know the back story of how it was written it’s even more powerful. Share from your own story how singing the upcoming lyrics have been personally challenging or encouraging (without going into TMI overload) for your own walk. Always, always, always bring it back to Jesus. Worship is about Him, for Him, and to Him, so as worship leaders we’re not just singing songs we are leading people into deeper relationship with God and placing value on His presence.
I Simply Cannot Do Anything On My Own
Only God can build His church, and the minute I get confused or forget who’s actually in charge that’s when I’ve missed the point. God is all about us using our gifts to glorify Him, but it’s ultimately Him who does all the hard yard kingdom stuff and we get the delight in being apart of the plan. It’s Him that breaks bondage, it’s Him that sets people free – not if we do an incredibly uplifting instrumental. It’s God alone who changes the heart. It’s God alone who convicts people. It’s God alone who heals the wounds. God is the one who does it all.
Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the LORD protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good.
None of us want our efforts to be wasted, so be constantly checking in with Holy Spirit to remain on the right track. Be connected to the Word Mon-Sat. Lead yourself in worship in your own private space. Make God the center of it all and it will be blessed, because you are giving Him the reigns on His ministry you get the honour to be so much a part of.
until next time… xox