How to Lead Worship Authentically
When we lead worship it’s important to be authentic. Leading worship is not a performance, and if you aren’t genuine it can cause a disconnect with your worship and with your congregation. Matt McCoy sat down with PraiseCharts Founder Ryan Dahl to discuss what he wished he knew when he started leading worship and tips for how to be an authentic worship leader.
1. Think about your first 30 seconds
The beginning of your worship service is the first chance you have to set the tone for the rest of the service. It’s important to remember that your congregation may just be getting seated with their coffee, they may have had a hard time getting the kids to church, and they may be new. Starting the service authentically can really help people feel welcome and more prepared to worship.
Ryan: “I feel a little bit nauseous when I see a worship leader come on and say “HEY EVERYBODY WELCOME TO CHURCH LET’S WORSHIP!” Boom, the band starts, and it’s like what just happened? Within 7 seconds we’re just driving. It’s alarming. Where was the chance for me to engage with that person who is singing the song?
Spend time and prepare what you want to say in the first 30 seconds. Say something meaningful and reflecting of who you are so it’s authentic. Then tell your band that you’re just going to come out and to give you a few moments to breathe and create a sense that you are there. You are a person. You’re their worship pastor. Not just a top 40 song player.”
Just because we are on stage, doesn’t mean that we need to have it all together and have a polished exciting start to the service. There are barriers to break through with being on stage, but we have the first 30 seconds to show we are on the same playing field, worshiping the same God together.
Matt: “When you can relate to your congregation as a real person, it can change the setting from a spectator situation where they just watch the worship, to a setting where they follow you and worship with you.”
2. Don’t be afraid to show your human side
Ryan: “A worship leader is a life leader. Find ways to let your light leak through. We aren’t just musicians or groove makers or track followers. We’re life leaders.”
Whether you’re on stage or off stage, the real worship that God is looking for is how we live our lives. If you approach worship leading as looking cool or trying to be famous, it can come across as inauthentic. Your congregation and your worship team are real people, and they want you to lead them. In order to do that, think of yourself as a life leader, not just a musician.
Ryan: “Think how the 30 minutes you have on stage will carry with people after the service. Three or four words in a worship song can impact the rest of someone’s week. If you’re a worship leader, try to have the mindset before your service of what could last past this 30 minutes? Then help your congregation remember those morsels of truth.”
Helping your congregation leave the service with life impacting morsels, can really help you lead authentically and be more than a song leader.
When we lead worship authentically it can have a way bigger impact on our congregation, than a polished worship service. How can you lead worship this Sunday more authentically?