Leading Worship

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Leading Worship

For current info and links about YWAM worship ministries, schools and seminars go to YWAM Worship Network

Goals of Leading Worship

  1. To minister to the Lord
  2. To lead the people into God's presence - To a place of worship with understanding and growing in expressions of praise/worship
  3. To facilitate an atmosphere to hear from God i.e. Gifts of the Holy Spirit, Celebration, Renewal (conviction etc)

Preparation for Leading Worship

Both the leader and team need these elements in place:

  • Be a worshipper - be a disciple in praise and worship (you can't lead the people into worship if you don't worship).
  • Use the psalms as your handbook and take the lead in expression corporate worship is the fruit of personal worship.
  • Choose to praise Psalm 103 -- "If you're happy in your heart - notify your face!"
  • Have a clean heart - (Psalm 24:3-4; Isiah. 59.2-3).
  • Be submitted to Jesus and leaders - there should be a direct line to meeting leader - communicate with each other.
  • Develop a solid biblical understanding and doctrine when teaching on praise and worship.
  • Have a basic and growing musical understanding; practice song, instrument, voice, creative forms.
  • Understand the nature of music.
  • Keep the goals clear - meet the goals with a heart for God and His heart for these people (have a heart to see beyond faces).
  • Encourage the people (educate them) to come ready to give.
  • Develop the ability to lead people - learn to encompass the whole and draw people in (Don't just lead the enthusiastic front row -- what about the back row?). Develop people-leading skills and establish a base of trust (people often wonder where you're trying to take them....they need to know they can trust you).
  • Build on a foundation of prayer.
  • Be submitted and committed to one another in the team

Team Times

  • Develop unity through worshipping and praying together
  • Learn from each other -- don't compete
  • Team practice - developing individual and team skills, usually led by leader or chief musician
  • Focus on
    • intros and "outros"
    • keys
    • medleys
    • transitions
    • cues: repeat whole song or chorus; music only; a cappella; louder/softer; key change; solo; tempo; male/female; language; free-song progressions
    • instruments - establish lead instrument (piano or guitar usually, sometimes vocal)
    • pre-determine (when possible) instrumental or vocal solos
    • encourage prophetic and new instrumental songs
    • arrangements -- rhythms, crescendos, cut-time, fills, simplicity, vamps, riffs - listen and blend with one another; singers should determine parts, solos, vocal quality
    • singers should establish vocal structure and begin with confidence
    • encourage the team in prophetic and new songs -- create an atmosphere of freedom in expression -- our example in this will release the congregation

As a team we need to establish a common commitment. This will help us to work through the rough spots together.

Sample Team Meeting

  • prayer (don't leave this til last!)
  • learning time (new songs, teaching, expressions)
  • practice
  • feedback + evaluation (talk about the last worship time and learn from it together)
  • praise time (don't just practice the songs, worship and praise the Lord with them)

Elements of the Worship Service

Touching God's heart through a particular theme or direction Expression through songs, actions, or waiting to fit this direction The fine balance of structure and freedom - enough structure to serve and support but as little as necessary -- let the people praise!


  • Have regular times of feedback as a team
  • Through your commitment to the goals and to each other you can grow and develop as a team. Learn from each other, help each *other, have a heart for each other and together develop a heart for the people you minister to and lead into worship.
  • Point out any trouble spots
  • Encourage one another
  • Pray for the people you lead
  • The team that praises together stays together
  • Invest in each other
  • Give thanks together
  • At the end of the service come together and close in prayer -- it is your covering.

by Belinda van de Loo, YWAM Holland (Heidebeek base).

Please contact by writing to: belinda@ywam.nl

22:38, 30 August 2007 (CEST)22:38, 30 August 2007 (CEST)22:38, 30 August 2007 (CEST)Belindaloo

Leading Praise and Worship

Some General Things

  • Plan beforehand with an attitude of prayer. Choose some (or all if you prefer) songs beforehand. It helps to bear in mind the subject for the evening. Look for songs on the same subject then.
  • Try not to choose several fast songs, then a slow one, then several fast ones again, as it tends to disrupt people.
  • Have a direction in mind as to where you are leading the people; realising you only half an hour or so. You may want= to spend most of the time in celebration/praise of God's goodness. Or else= you may want to start off with a few praise songs then have a longer time of worship and adoration.
  • It is helpful to meet with the musicians briefly before the meeting begins to pray together. This really helps the flow of the Spirit, as the musicians play an important part in the flow of the worship. Meeting early also gives them an opportunity to tune up together on time.
  • During the time of praise and worship, hand signals are helpful for the musicians e.g. if you want the song repeated, stopped, or repeated half-way through.
  • Feel free to change the words of some songs if it's appropriate. E.g. instead of "Be Still and Know that I Am God" you could sing, "Be Still and Trust in Me, Your God"
  • The Holy Spirit will already be present in the meeting, but you may want to pray out and invite Him to move however He would like to.
  • Encourage from the word, either in the beginning or even part-way through. A time for testimonies also brings encouragement and builds faith.
  • Be creative with ideas: give a shout to the Lord or a wave offering etc.
  • Be bold in leading. Speak clearly and loudly so people can hear.
  • You may want to encourage people between songs, but keep it brief. Don't 'preach' between songs or talk a lot as it takes away from the flow.
  • If you sense a heaviness or lack of response throw a quick prayer for wisdom to the Lord and listen. You might just need to stop and ask if anyone wants prayer, or people may just need and exhortation to forget their feelings and praise God for who He is---a foundational principle in praise.
  • Try and have a balance between praising God because He is worthy, and also realising that He does want to come and bless us and meet needs. We don't want to teach people to praise God to get their needs met, but we want Him to have the freedom to move in our midst.
  • After the first three or four songs, allow a time of response in the form of prayers from the people etc. Also if any of the gifts are operating.
  • Don't be afraid of silence, especially if people are really worshipping.
  • Try and be relaxed, it's a lot easier to hear the Spirit's leading.
  • If someone brings a word that you feel is 'off' it's best to sing a song directly afterwards, then discuss it with the other leaders later.
  • Normally after someone has brought a word, allow a time for it to penetrate. It is good to sum up at the end of the praise time what the Lord has said. It helps to remember and retain it.

Steps to Leading Praise and Worship

What to pray about before the time of worship

  • What goals should I have? Short or long term goals for the body.
  • Is there a specific theme for this worship time?
  • Are there specific songs we should sing? Choose songs carefully. Don't let personal favorites or past successes dictate.
  • What are new creative ways can I lead?
  • Are we to concentrate on praise, worship or spiritual warfare?
  • Is there a word of the Lord for me to bring?
  • What encouragement can I bring?

Questions to Ask Ourselves

  • Am I filled with the Spirit? Is my heart right before the Lord?
  • Am I in faith to bring the people into the presence of the Lord?
  • Have I prepared properly?
  • Am I ministering out of love or frustration?
  • Have I been a personal worshipper this week?

Things to Check

  • Clarify the roles of leadership of worship and chief musician.
  • Is there good communication between musicians and leader?
  • Do the musicians have agreement on keys of songs? Do they know the ones you'd like to sing?
  • Is someone in charge of overhead projector and familiar with the songs?
  • Does the leader have a good microphone?
  • Are the musicians arriving early to tune up?
  • Are the hand signals familiar to the musicians?

Different Things to do

  • Repeating chorus again.
  • Repeating Chorus but slower.
  • Repeating chorus in a higher key.
  • Getting just guys or girls or specific person to sing.
  • Humming tune.
  • Allowing musicians to play and minister to the Lord while everyone listens and worships.
  • Singing without accompaniment.
  • Singing in the Spirit to the melody of the song.
  • Singing your own words to the melody of the song.
  • Someone singing out the melody of the song (a new song).
  • Singing in the spirit around one chord.
  • Singing in the Spirit to a series of chords put together by musicians.
  • Encourage a certain expression, response pr action through the singing of a song.
  • Allow individuals to pray.
  • Specific prayers of thanks, love, commitment etc.
  • Everyone praying out loud together (worshipping out loud).
  • Splitting into small groups of 3-4 to express praise and worship.
  • Splitting into twos to pray for one another.
  • Reading scripture while musicians play.
  • Specific declarations for the whole body.
  • Asking the 'Holy Spirit to come' and be ready for anything.