Editor’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!
This is Part 2 of The Anatomy Of The Worship Leader. You can check out Part 1 here.
Skills are important too!
As worship leaders, if we are called to lead people into worship then it is a requirement to be skilled and there must be a personal commitment to always want to improve in our craft. We are instructed to “sing to Him a new song; play skillfully with a shout of joy” in Psalm 33:3. The original Hebrew, the word skillfully in this passage is translates over “to do well, to make something beautiful.” By the anatomy of playing “skillfully,” we are called to use the talents and abilities God has given us, and to use them with excellence. If excellence is not a priority, worship sets can become sloppy and distracting – this is not the type of atmosphere we are strive to create as worship leaders.
The Relational Side of the Worship Leader:
“When I know you and love you, we can go anywhere together.
You may impress me with your talent, but you will impact me through relationship.
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
– Dr. Muller, Liberty University.
I believe Dr. Muller sums up the importance of relationship quite clearly. The truth is that relationships are everything! The congregation will have more trust and comfort with a worship leader leading them if they have a relationship with them. We are, by God’s design, relational beings. That being the case, we should not be surprised that being relational is a ministry in itself. As worship leaders, we are to care for people and intentionally make sure people have an understanding how and why we worship. Worship itself is derived out of a direct relationship with God.
Biblical Knowledge and Theology of Worship:
“Theology reforms our life and our doctrine which we need, because a holy life divorced from sound doctrine becomes moralism.” – Donald Bloesch
Having strong biblical knowledge and an understanding of the theology of worship is crucial for anyone who leads a congregation in worship. How can a worship leader genuinely lead a congregation in worship if he does not have biblical knowledge or an understanding of what worship is from a biblical standpoint? In order for any worship leader to be connected to the will of God, they must constantly be within the Word of God – studying it, living it, and proclaiming it. In short, the worship leader should meet the biblical qualifications of a church elder. Even though he may not be called to be an elder, the congregation will look at the worship leader as a teacher of the gospel, not just a singer/guitar player each week.
A worship leader’s scriptural understanding is a direct reflection of how much he genuinely cares about growing in His personal relationship with Christ. If a worship leader doesn’t care about his own relationship with Christ, how can He be expected to care for the congregation’s relationship with Christ? If a worship leader is a true spiritual leader, He will proclaim the Word with everything in his being in order to make sure it is evident to those he is leading.
Biblical knowledge and an understanding of the theology of worship will fuel personal worship. David Santistevan explains, “Nothing sustains a lifetime of worship leading like an ongoing pursuit of the knowledge of God.” One of God’s deepest desires is for us to know Him and to be known as He is. The act of studying the Word honors, pleases, and glorifies the Lord. The act of studying doctrinal worship teaches us how worship has developed throughout time and how it is a vital way of life, not just a Sunday morning song. Without biblical knowledge and an understanding of the theology of worship, a person does not have the right to lead a congregation in worship.
So why is the anatomy of the worship leader important? In order for a church to be successful in touching lives and pointing people to God, a well-rounded and structured worship leader is essential. Worship leaders need to have the pastoral focus of not only leading worship, but also doing it skillfully while teaching the biblical meaning and purpose of worship. The worship leader position is not something that should be looked at lightly; it is a huge responsibility to lead people into a time of genuine worship with God. Therefore, it is the worship leader’s obligation to strive for excellence in his role of leading, building character, growing in skills, seeking relationships, and expanding knowledge of the Word. Knowing and understanding the anatomy of the worship leader is something the worship leader should live by and something church leaders should strive to recognize and maintain within their churches.
The Anatomy of the Worship Leader
Article written by David Conley
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