This is a continuation of an earlier post on effective worship leadership. Click here to see other related posts.
An effective worship leader leads out of relationship. Have you ever been in a situation where you’re leading worship and the people just don’t seem to be with you? Boy, I have. It can feel like pulling teeth to get them to do anything you’re asking of them: stand up, lift their hands, clap their hands. “Man, what a tough crowd. These people are dead. They don’t want the things of God!” Not so fast.
What I’ve learned from leading worship in contexts as varied as church services, conferences, business meetings, and a factory break room is this. Worship is an intimate experience. Like any other, the relationship between the leader and the followers takes time to develop. The truth is that people are more reserved and hesitant to follow someone they don’t know. And frankly, they should be.
How can you build that relationship? Here are some suggestions.
- Be accessible. What you do off the stage is even more important that what you do on the stage. Relate and be a friend.
- Ask their name, learn their name, and repeat their name in conversation. Admittedly, this is one of my weakest social flaws.
- Respect where they are. In their spiritual walk, their context for worship, and their life stage. Yes, your job is to encourage them to go deeper and farther, but not until you appreciate their starting point.
- Acknowledge them. So many worship leaders are intense and withdrawn. I don’t fully agree with the “Audience of One” mentality. Recognize the congregation, welcome them, invite them to join you in worship, and please, every now and then, open your eyes and look at them.
- Instruct them on anything new or outside of their context
- Smile. A simple gesture that means so much
- Love them and serve them.
Be aware of this principle if you’re leading a particular group for the first time. They are giving you lots of grace by extending their platform to you. Give them the grace to not respond to you right away. In time, you can earn their trust. And once they trust you, they will follow you.
Over to you:
Worship leaders, what ways do you build relationships with those you lead?
Worshipers, what things have you appreciated about worship leaders in your life that made them trustworthy and easier for you to follow?