Screen shot 2014-01-14 at 9.34.58 AMWhat does it mean to be “led by the Spirit” when you’re a worship leader?

It’s a phrase we all know, but is often a little harder to actually do. In fact, I think a lot of the problems within the creative arts realm of the church spring from this very issue.

When we don’t have a firm grasp on what all of these ideas and sayings mean, we end up substituting. In short, the absence of understanding leads to “grabbing,” desperately searching for some way to measure success when it comes to something as beautiful sounding – though actually difficult – as being led by the Holy Spirit.

This post isn’t the definitive list. It’s not a how-to, five-step plan on how to be Spirit led. But it is a collection of a few ways that the Holy Spirit might want to lead you the next time you’re serving in worship.

But God is good and He’s faithful in our wanderings (or wonderings) and I believe there are numerous opportunities every single day to follow His lead.


This is the in-the-moment, spontaneous response stuff… the noticing that a line of a song is particularly moving your congregation and having the band repeat it a couple of times. This is cutting a song short. This is moving to a time of silence or opening the altar for confession.

Sadly, many worship leaders believe this is the primary, or only, way to be led by the Holy Spirit. It’s valid, for sure, but it’s not the only thing God wants you to do in a given worship service. Most worship leaders are pretty good at this by the nature of their gifting.*

One of the other ways the Spirit wants to lead you in spending time with your team. I know services are stressful, but a few minutes checking in on your team can be a powerful opportunity to encourage and pastor your folks.

A lot of us forget about this one. Because our teams are “on stage,” we sometimes assume that their healthy, solid and don’t need any special care. But that’s not the case. On a given Sunday, the Spirit may want to counsel someone on your team or have a prayer time for the church among the musicians and technicians. Make room for that in your schedule. Look for those physical cues that clue you in when someone’s not doing well.

While you’re up there doing your thing, there’s still a lot of stuff going on all around your church. Another way that God may want to use you in troubleshooting stuff that’s not even in your specific area.

I can’t tell you how many times someone has grabbed me in the hallway of our church because a door is locked or a computer won’t power on. While most of us respond to those things out of just normal human kindness, I’ve been trying to remind myself that those are more than just “favors” – they are ways that the Spirit leads me to serve.

Don’t be frustrated by those interruptions. Respond to them in the Spirit!


What are some other practical, specific ways we can follow the lead of the Holy Spirit?



  1. johnnydrummer

    The single best way to be led by the Spirit in leading worship is to study and meditate upon what Holy Scripture says about worship, applying what you learn to every single thing that’s being done. An easy example is that from Hebrews we learn that worship which God finds acceptable is characterized by reverence and awe. I evaluate what we sing and play in terms of that.

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