Nine Practical Hurdles Worship Leaders Must Overcome


Here are some hurdles that you need to overcome as a worship leader.

There may be seasons where these things have been working great and once again need attention.

Building great structures and systems takes time, but it’s worth it for your health and longevity and the growth of your ministry and the church.

Listen To Podcast Episode #76 (or read below)

Administration and Organization

So much of worship ministry is in the details. Your systems of planning, calendar and music, and more will determine the effectiveness of your ministry and the strength of your team. Organize your time toward your people. Build the people you have around in ministry so you can accomplish the goal of equipping the saints and leading the church in worship. Practical Steps Include: One calendar, a system for planning worship outlines, a certain time for prayer and devotion each day, a weekly rhythm of the Sabbath, and a typical schedule and flow each week.

Scheduling And People

Depending on the size and style of the church, there may be different levels to this hurdle. But no matter what, your people are the best, biggest and brightest resource. Be sure to treat them well. Give them advance notice, resource them with what they need, encourage them with praise and constructive thoughts for growth, and build authentic relationships. Practical Steps Include: Get set up with Planning Center Online if you haven’t already to use for scheduling and planning, take a look at your calendar to schedule your next worship team meeting, plan your next community building event or party with your team, and/or find out how your team members are doing with personal texts and notes.

Learning New Stuff

Learn new songs and new ways of leading. Expand your knowledge by listening to podcasts, listening to new music or attending a conference or event. I often get new songs by inviting our team members to send them to me when they hear a great one. Learn new leadership tips by observing others, meeting with other pastors or worship leaders, and by reading! Leaders are learners. Practical Steps Include: listening to the Worship Leader Toolbox podcast, asking a question in a Facebook Worship Leaders Group or learning a new song for two Sundays from now. Read this post.

Accountable To What You Say You Will Do

Life is busy. Worship leaders often feel like they wear a number of hats in ministry. But don’t commit and then change. Hold yourself accountable to doing what you say you will do. And if things on your calendar have become unruly, you probably need to do some boundary work — but start out a few days and make it through your current commitments first. Practical Steps Include: Send the info, make the call, prep the song or do whatever it is you told someone you would do.

Responsive In Communication

Similar to the one above, be sure to be responsive in communication. Serving in a church is a high calling and we don’t want to take it lightly. We want to be as intentional as we can about responding to people in a timely manner and apologizing when we don’t. Practical Steps Include: Setting up auto email responders when you’re away, asking people to remind you if you don’t respond, returning calls asap, etc. One of the best ways to set up boundaries for communication is to respond quickly during “normal” hours and not respond during off hours. People will get into a rhythm. If you respond to texts and emails all day and all night, everyone will assume you’re available all the time.

Leading, Not Performing

This isn’t easy to teach, partly because we want to do our best with excellence. But there is an element to leading that must be authentically and humbly focused on serving the room and helping people connect with God. Performances can also inspire us to connect to God in a certain way, but in worship, our goal is to get people to sing and engage in the act of praise and worship. We’re leading, not performing. Of course, we are performing in a sense, along with the congregation for God. Practical Steps Include: Reading the blog post about The Worship Leader As Prompter, think about the people you’re leading more than the performance. It’s also helpful to know the music so well that you can lead and worship more than concentrate. Not performing doesn’t mean not rehearsing and preparing.

Learning Great Flow, Great Transitions

Great flow comes with good planning and lots of prayer. Transitions are some of the most important pieces to great flow. At some point, you must think through transitions so you’re not just stringing songs together with the same intros each time. Practical Steps Include: Read 14 Ideas for Transitions, take notes of other worship times you’re a part of and incorporate the great things into your service that work, and take time to prepare before Sunday with the pastor and other leaders.

Being A Good Band Member

Even as the leader, you are serving with the worship band. Model what it means to be a good team member. Arrive on time. Don’t noodle on your instrument when people are talking. Encourage team members when things go well. Spend time before or after rehearsal visiting about life, asking questions, and checking in with others.

Being A Great Leader

Strive to be a great leader who is developing other leaders! Run effective rehearsals, plan songs in advance, bend over backward to make things easier on your pastor and your leaders, be encouraging, send thank you notes and trust your team. Always be working hard where God has you until it’s time to move on. Give your all.

You’re serving a great church and you have potential right where you are to make a difference!

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