Every year that I have the privilege of serving as a worship pastor I feel like I’m learning new lessons. If I could share for only 60 seconds with worship leaders just starting out, these are some of the things I’d try to cram in.
Go deep with God. Study the Bible. Study how the gospel connects to everything in the world. Pray. Read great books. Engage in the corporate gathering. Don’t be a green-room junkie. Take notes during the sermon. Love people well. Be patient. Communicate often. Communicate personally. Be warm. Get others involved. Give private and public honor to those who are serving (not just private; not just public). Apologize when you’ve led poorly. Respond to emails as quickly and graciously as possible. Make time to encourage youth who serve in musical worship. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Make sure your list of go-to songs has a lot of gospel-charged stuff in it. Study the “nature” of songs. What do songs “get done”? Be picky about the songs you add to your congregation’s “hymnal.” Do you have a broad enough list of songs that allow people to confess sin, to learn about God’s character, to experience consolation, to be pulled from despair/melancholy, to get ready for action and mission, to die and meet Jesus and call it gain? Love your pastor. Ask for feedback. Don’t undermine the coherency of your leadership team. Don’t put off dealing with uncomfortable issues. Before you do something confrontational, get input from your pastor/pastoral team to find out if you should proceed and/or how you should proceed. Cultivate margin and a healthy family life. Lead them in worship, too. They are your little “flock.” Hug and kiss your wife and kids often. Remember Jesus Christ and never lose gospel wonder.
If I only had 60 seconds to encourage worship leaders who have been doing this for decades, I’d share the same thing.