The Anatomy Of The Worship Leader, Part 1

David ConleyEditor’s Note: This is a guest post written by our friend David Conley. David is the director of Worship Exposed, an online ministry focused on challenging Christ-followers to capture a lifestyle of biblical worship. You can follow David on Twitter at @TheDavidConley or Instagram at @TheDavidConley. Or check out Worship Exposed here. Many thanks to David for sharing this post with us!

The anatomy of the worship leader is an essential understanding that every worship leader should take the heart and every church leadership should study up on before hiring just anyone to lead their church in worship.

Anatomy Of Worship

To understand the anatomy of the worship leader, it is necessary to first understand the anatomy of worship itself. First of all, what is worship? Worship is best described as reflecting God’s glory back to Him – which is something done both personally and corporately. The sole purpose of our worship is to glorify, honor, praise, exalt, and praise the one who created us.

Worship starts with God and focuses on God.

As easy as the above statement is to say, it is something that is missed and neglected in today’s world. Today we live in a very self-centered, self-seeking culture, and as church body, we are constantly fighting the urge to please people instead of God. Worship needs to be focused what God requires, not our own needs or the desires of what people want. Worshipers are not to seek and follow the ways of men, for it does not please the Lord; they are to seek and follow the ways of the Lord. In order to focus on what God requires, worshippers must understand that worship is not just singing songs on Sunday morning; it involves a life of constant glorification to God. This includes constant prayer and a life of living and breathing the Word.

Called to Worship:

Ultimately, worship is the opportunity to grow to newer and deeper levels in one’s relationship with God. It is the act of worship that helps drive us to build Christ-like character. Through genuine worship, we open ourselves up to seeing the world through God’s eyes – valuing what He values, and caring for what He cares for.

Ultimately, without out worship, our relationship with God means nothing. Worship drives our part of our relationship with God – it is our choice to worship, it is our choice to grow with and in Him.

God did not create man for no reason. God created man in His own image so that we could have a relationship with Him and reflect His glory. The very purpose of our creation is our call to worship. Not only did God create us, He rescued us when we turned from Him and disobeyed him. God is beyond worthy to receive glory, honor and praise. As His creation, we are called to live life scripturally. This means that we are to live a life devoted to God in everything we do, a worshipping life.

Anatomy of the Worship Leader:

What is the anatomy of a worship leader?

A popular belief in the church today is that anyone can be a worship leader, just as long as they can sing and play the guitar; however, as much as those two qualities are important, there’s a lot more to being a worship leader. The anatomy of the worship leader is included but not limited to their role in the church, character, skills, biblical knowledge, theology of worship, and relational ability to lead. Without each of these structural qualities that make up a worship leader, one fails to truly lead a church body.

The Role of the Worship Leader:

Worship leaders play a crucial role in the church. As God’s people gather together, it is the responsibility of the worship leader to encourage the congregation to enter a time of genuine worship where they are engaging personally with God. This means that it is the worship leader’s obligation to construct and create moments and movements where people experience God’s presence in their lives. Worship leaders are to create an environment in which people are able to let go of the stress and grind of their daily lives, and enter into a personal time between them and God.

In order for any given worship leader to accomplish the above role description, the understanding that they must lead by example, regardless of whether they are on, off, or behind the stage has to be grasped. The role of the worship leader is a daily, minute-by-minute position that requires discipline and intentionality.

What does this mean?

Spiritually, if a worship leader is to lead a congregation, their life must be devoted to exemplify what it means to be a true worshipper. As the worship leader enters into worship at a deeper level, whether on stage or not, they are setting an example for the congregation and the worship team to follow.

In addition, the worship leader must prepare worship sets that revolve around the theme of the message while ensuring that all lyrics align with scripture. A worship leader who revolves his portion of service around scripture shows the congregation that they have a genuine concern for those under their care and their spiritual development.

Professionally, it is important to recognize that the senior pastor and the worship leader work as a team, not independently. As worship leaders, it is essential to reach a place in the relationship with our senior pastors, so that together, we are growing spiritually, all while submitting to God and His will and leading within the guidelines of His Word. The worship leader must work side-by-side with the senior pastor to best lead the congregation to grow in their relationship with Christ.

The Character of the Worship Leader:

In any relationship, we all know that it is the character of a person that truly counts – especially if that person is a leader. Although skills and talents are admired, skills do not even scratch the tip of the surface of who someone is and what they truly believe and stand for.

Take the iceberg demonstration for example:

Notice here that only 10% of an iceberg above the water, 90% of it is underneath the surface, unseen. The iceberg represents leadership. Only 10% of leadership is what people see (talents, abilities, and actions). The 10% are the things we say and do. However, it is the 90% that is not seen that can either make or break our leadership capabilities.

“Ninety percent of our success as leaders will be determined by what’s below the waterline. It’s our leadership character that ultimately drives what we do, and why. It is a true reflection of who we really are as human beings” – Mark Miller

How does character affect worship leaders?

In the worship leadership position, it is the character that drives us to serve and lead others into a genuine time of worship. The truth is, if people don’t see someone who is in a leadership position demonstrating leadership character, they will see them as a true leader. Mark Miller explains it this way, “If you don’t demonstrate leadership character, your skills and your results will be discounted, if not dismissed.” As worship leaders, we do not want people to dismiss us as leaders, we want people to entrust us in their worship experience and be able to come to us with questions regarding worship without hesitation. A question every worship leader must ask their self is, “am I same person off stage that I am on stage?” A leader who says they are someone they are not, or says to do something and yet doesn’t do it themselves is a hypocrite. We don’t want hypocrisy within the church, let alone its leadership.

“Acquiring leadership skills is needed, but character development must be a priority, an to develop deep and genuine character we must first look first to Jesus Christ.” – Tom Yeakley

This is Part 1 of The Anatomy Of The Worship Leader. Check back for Part 2 this Friday!

The Anatomy of the Worship Leader
Article written by David Conley
©2015 All Rights Reserved

2 thoughts on “The Anatomy Of The Worship Leader, Part 1”

  1. Thank you for this explanation David. It is very well written and easy to understand. I can see the importance of coordinating with the worship with the pastor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *