You won't find a worship leader in the New Testament. This is unsettling for those of us who look to Scripture as our guide. No description of our role? No instruction for our work? Not even a mention of our name?
You want to be a good worship leader. You want to serve your church and honor God. Where do you start? What are the essential ingredients? It's right there in the name. It starts with being a worshiper and a leader.
Embrace God's Design For Worship
Although passages about sung worship under the New Covenant are rare, they aren't non-existent. Colossians 3 and Ephesians 5 provide valuable insight. Jesus sang a hymn on His way to the garden. Paul and Silas sang in chains. Revelation gives us glorious images of angels, elders and peoples from every nation singing and praising. These verses give us a helpful start, but they're only the first step in the right direction.
There is a rich, deep treasure of Scripture on what it means to worship God rightly. They may not reference sung worship specifically, but that's okay:
- Romans 12 tells us that worship is wholehearted sacrifice.
- 2 Corinthians 3:18 tells us worship is transformational and fixed on Jesus.
- John 4:23 tells us worship is in Spirit and in Truth.
- Hebrews 4:14-16 tells us worship is only through Jesus Christ our Mediator.
And many, many more.
You Cannot Worship What You Do Not Know
To worship God rightly, you must know Him intimately. This means consistent, personal time in His presence, seeking His face. This means intentionally studying the character, nature and attributes of God: the person and work of Jesus Christ. The person and work of the Holy Spirit.
I say learn to worship God "rightly" because it's possible to worship God wrongly. Many in the Church are unwittingly worshiping a false god. A god of their own design. A god they've fashioned into their own image. A god that looks more like a combination of personal tastes and pet doctrines than the God of the Bible.
Jesus revealed to the Samaritan woman, "You worship what you do not know." Jesus rejected the Pharisees and scribes declaring, "In vain do you worship."
Let's not allow the same to be said of us.
We can't look solely at our favorite celebrity worship leaders to know what true worship looks like. Scripture is both the anchor fixing us to the truth of God and the map leading us closer to Him.
When The Leaders Lead
A good worship leader is a good leader. You can be a great singer but a poor leader. You can be charismatic and engaging but a poor leader. You can hold the title "Worship Leader" but be a poor leader.
How do we become a good leader? Once again Scripture is our guide. It may not tell you how to plan your services or who to choose for your volunteer team, but it does give clear instructions for the leader.
- John 3:30 shows a leader seeks the fame and glory of Jesus.
- Philippians 2:3 shows a leader counts others more highly than themselves.
- 1 Peter 5:3 shows a leader is not a ruler but an example.
Jesus is our perfect example of a leader. He was a servant. Bold in His convictions. Committed to prayer. Loving, gracious and patient with His followers.
Countless volumes have been penned with leadership lessons from Scripture. Indeed, growing into a Godly leader takes a lifetime. Don't let that discourage you. Start now! Become a student of Scripture and what it says specifically to leaders. Surround yourself with good leaders. Find a mentor.
Become a worshiper who knows God and worships Him rightly.
Become a leader who knows their people and serves them sacrificially.
A worshiping leader. This combination is fierce and powerful. A mighty weapon in the hand of the Lord to be used for His purpose and His glory.