How To Raise Up Other Worship Leaders

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This may be super specific, but the scenario might look something like this:

You’re serving in a church and have a few committed instrumentalists and few vocalists but they all are most comfortable following you. You then, by default, sing almost every song and lead the way for transitions, invitations, etc.

How do you take who you have and develop them to become more comfortable truly leading?

I should say, there is an element to calling and desire. At times, some well-meaning folks serve in the worship with a “someone has to do it” mindset. We want to include people who are willing to serve, but the next step is to discover gifts. Not everyone should be taking hold of a mic to power out a song or be the main vocal leader, but there are other ways. Some people have great stage presence and may not be comfortable leading vocally and in some other combinations.

You don’t have to be an expert at discovering everyone’s gift – and help them develop it. There are some leaders who are gifted with that skill – but everyone can open the conversation to gifts and desire to lead/serve in certain capacities. This is best done at a time other than a Sunday morning when things don’t sound quite right. Maybe you’re at a planning meeting or gathering when you can say something like, “I’m praying for more leadership in our ministry! I don’t want to take all the fun, so I’m praying for more people to participate as worship leaders – helping to model worship, lead vocally, help with transitions, and such. If you would like to have a conversation about how you might grow into some of that, let’s talk.” This conversation could also be tweaked for more one on one as well. Often, one on one, for invitations to serve in a particular way, may be the best way to go.

Either way, here is a list of some practical ways you can raise up worship leaders within your church…

Prepare Opportunities In Advance

For people who are growing in a new skill, timing and preparation are key! As a worship leader, you may be comfortable with a new song thrown at you with a couple of days. For someone else, it probably needs to be a song – with a music file, lyric file and correct flow chart – given to them two or three weeks in advance with a date where they would be leading. Assign a song well in advance – invite another vocalist to take the lead for this one – once you’ve done this three or four times, they could take their “songs” and lead fully some Sunday.

This can also be true for transitions, reading a scripture, or taking part in another form of worship. Don’t just spring it on your team. Your goal is effective ministry and a sense of success in leadership! Invite someone (in advance) to read scripture, do a call to worship, or some other inviting/engaging.

Attend A Conference Together

Attending a worship leadership conference with your team can bring about all kinds of conversation, ideas and open doors to growing your team!

Visit Another Church With Key Leaders From Your Team

In a similar way, you can really get some encouragement going by inviting your team to join you at another church worship service. At one point, we selected a few people to stay at our home church to lead and we farmed out our entire team to go to other churches to visit on a Sunday morning. Afterward, we all met back at church for lunch and debriefing. In some ways, groups were inspired; in other ways, they were motivated realizing that nearly every church has some areas where they need to grow – it was an encouragement to us who also had some rough places sometimes!

Give A Young Person A Chance

The beauty of inviting a gifted student or young adult to participate in worship leadership is that the bar is slightly lowered! The worshipping congregation is nearly always supportive, appreciative, and encouraging as they witness the next generation learning the ropes and helping to lead! I have personally found that it’s in many ways easier to help encourage, teach and equip a younger person with pointers and ideas for future growth! I raise the expectations for the next generation – for arriving on time, knowing their stuff, being teachable – because I have the thought that someday, they will be an adult in my team or someone else’s! Now is the time to help build a foundation of quality leadership – speak words to them – lovingly! Teach them, hold them to high standards, involve them.

Invite A Friend To Join You

Quality breeds quality! As a musician, you most likely have a great musician friend that you could invite to come play drums, keys, bass or sing some Sunday. Introduce them, let your team rub shoulders with great musicians. Without doing much else, this alone will help set an example of great musicianship and worship leadership. By doing this on a regular basis (two or three times a year), you give a vision of what the music and leading can become in your own setting with your own people.

Coach Your Vocal Team

The vocals make or break worship ministry teams. If you’re going to invest some coaching time, put the time into the vocal team. If that’s not your strength, find someone else who can help bring out the best from the singers in your ministry. Vocal coaching is both an event and an ongoing process. There are two main elements to your singing team – visual and musicality.

It’s possible that 50% or more of leadership is visual. Help your team learn great stage presence. Practice it during rehearsal. Encourage them. Watch videos of yourselves. Push the idea that we need people to help model worship for the congregation – authentically.

Secondly, help it sound good by trying some of these things – going more simply, having some team members back away from mic on certain songs, choosing the right keys for the right vocal leaders for a particular song, teach proper mic techniques and encourage your team to belt it out.

Get Comfortable Taking A Risk

Anytime you’re raising up leaders, you’re going to be taking a risk! What if it doesn’t work? Take a chance on people! Prepare to the best of your ability, then go for it. Help others experience the joy of serving in the leadership of worship ministry in the local church. Pull them in, invite people, challenge your team and don’t forget the most important step — have someone in your team take the reins and try it out! Make it happen.

Wrap Up

Growing your ministry effectiveness begins here: Help your team draw close to Jesus. Pray for your ministry and stay focused on the main goal of the worship team – to help the church sing. We’re here to glorify Jesus.

Stir Up Leadership Conversations

In the past, we have used the “baseball-sized” cards to stir up leadership discussion during our rehearsals or even Sunday morning prayer circle time. You can pick them up here.