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Think You're Cut Out to Be a Worship Leader? Not So Fast. Read This First.
- Lee McDerment
Hey everyone! Lee McDerment, here—Worship Director at NewSpring Church. I’ve been serving in this position since I started with the church right after graduating college in May of 2000. Here are 6 qualities from the life of King David that, in my opinion, are essential to worship leading. “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the LORD is with him.” 1 Samuel 16:18 (ESV) 1. Skillful in Playing The person who made these observations about David noticed his musical ability first. If you’re a worship leader, it’s important that you’re the best artist you can be. The God who made everything saw fit to give you musical gifts. It’s your responsibility to hone and craft them with diligence and discipline, as a way to honor God and to be used by Him to draw others closer to Him. 2. A Man of Valor Valor is simply defined as bravery. Worship leaders must be brave, courageous, and full of boldness on and off stage. You must wage spiritual war with an attitude of humble confidence. Privately, you must wage war against sexual temptation and greed, against the pride of ambition and the lies of insecurity. Publicly, you must stand firm to sing and speak the Word with an uncompromising desire to see truth proclaimed and faith created. The Word is your weapon; prayer is your weapon; and Almighty God is your shield and your very great reward. Sing and lead as if eternity is at stake! 3. A Man of War A good soldier is trained, disciplined and under authority, plain and simple. If a soldier can’t make his bed on command, he won’t pull the trigger in the heat of battle on command. Worship leaders have a reputation for being late, over-emotional, unorganized and lazy. David was none of these. A man of war is punctual, self-controlled, prepared, and hard working. A man of war knows how to take orders. If you can submit to authority, you will be deemed worthy to wield it. Ask the Holy Spirit if he approves of the condition of your life, and submit to his orders. He will always lead you into life, health and power. 4. Prudent in Speech What if every word I ever spoke was into a microphone, broadcasted to thousands of people? Would this change what I said? Being prudent in speech means you know the correct words for the correct time. It means that you know that life and death are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruit. It means that you make the most of every opportunity to use your words to build and not to tear down. It means you consider becoming the same person everywhere, letting your words be broadcast with grace and truth regardless if there is a microphone present or not. 5. Of Good Presence Literally, this means “of good form,” “good looking” or “handsome.” Now, we all know that man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. But the fact that man looks at the outside isn’t always a bad thing. If you’re a worship leader, it’s vitally important that you steward your body well. When you try to look your best, you demonstrate for people that you enjoy your life, that you care about your family, and that you believe the Lord has given you something worth sharing. Being a person of good presence means you take care of yourself, both inside and out, becoming healthy physically, emotionally and spiritually, so that you’re ready to make an impact when the moment comes. 6. And the Lord Is With Him The final and most important outwardly visible characteristic of young David was that God was present with him and moving powerfully in his life. Not only was this evident in his physical struggles (lions, bears) but in how he handled himself in word and deed. Are people changed when you lead? Do they encounter Jesus when they attend services that you orchestrate? If so, it’s not because of your ability or merit, but because God is with you. The continual and abiding presence of God is a promise for every believer, and an essential reality for worship leaders. We cannot hope to bring about lasting change in anyone’s life without Jesus’ strength in us. We need him close as we lead. God promises in Psalm 138 that though He is high, he sees the humble, but the prideful he knows from afar. Humble confidence should be the defining attitude of every worship leader. Do people know that the LORD is with you, just by observing your life? These are just a handful of qualities that every worship leader would do well to possess. As we press into Jesus personally and privately, these qualities will emerge publicly and powerfully!