Ask enough worship leader how they got their start and you’ll eventually encounter something like this:

“I wasn’t looking for the job – it was foisted on me!”

Not only is it common, but it’s also encouraging to realize that God gets what He wants…even if you aren’t planning on it. Whether by staff shakeups, illness or church growth or some other cause, lots of guys and gals end up leading worship through strange, unplanned circumstances.

If you or someone you know is in that situation, here are a couple of things you can do to make the transition easier (for you and everyone else!)

When you’re suddenly thrown into the leader spot, one of the smartest things you can do is sit down with the existing team and listen to them. Get their take on what’s worked or what hasn’t. You’re certainly not going to be able to please every person all the time, but a little conversation will help you realize the sort of relational dynamic you’re getting into.

Throw a barbecue or go out with the team one night after practice. Or better yet – grab a couple of lunches with 1 or 2 of the team members at a time. Invest a little bit of time and you’ll make all kinds of headway in understanding the world you’re stepping into.

It won’t take you long to start forming an idea of the types of songs, prayers and service elements you want to utilize in worship. But be careful! If you’ve been handed the reins of worship, don’t try to change everything on your first day. Start out slow – keep some of the service the same and change a few things over time. Think of the service as a new “mix” of elements.

As worship leaders, we have a tendency to think that this job is only about what we do.

But there’s more to leading worship that just picking the songs. Plain and simple – we need to love our people! In fact, you lead best when you love most. Invest in getting to know people and praying for God to give you more love for His people. I promise you – it will change the way you lead.

Some of you have walked this road…what are some other good tips for worship leaders who get handed the responsibility?


One comment

  1. chrismaroon

    Great stuff here. Have lived this more than once. Slowing down and making changes over an extended period is great advice. Also, when you are new, you will sometimes get “advice” from a few congregants which will, a lot of times, just be their preferences in worship. It might be great advice, or it might not, but two to three people’s preferences are not a reason to make a huge change. Lots of prayerful consideration is key. Hopefully you can find someone (another worship leader, preferably outside your church) who can mentor you and advise you through the transition is very helpful.

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