Eight Things I Think Every Worship Leader Should Know
I have had the incredible privilege of working with Lee McDerment since Mother’s Day of 2000. He was the first full time staff member I ever hired—and I have never regretted that decision. I was talking to him about this post the other day and ran these eight things by him (actually there were seven—he came up with number eight.) He thought these were great…but little did he know that these are things I have learned by watching him (I try to learn from everyone!!!) So here goes…
#1 - When you are singing…OPEN YOUR EYES!
Seriously…if I attend one more conference where the worship leader closes their eyes the entire time I think I am going to throw something at them (they wouldn’t see it!)
I’ve heard worship pastors say, “I think I need to just worship and people can see me doing so and will be drawn to do the same.” WRONG ANSWER…they are not there to see you—they need to see Jesus, and there are MANY people that will never experience God’s presence unless you LEAD them there. (Thus the title WORSHIP LEADER!)
It’s easy to close your eyes and disconnect—the challenge is to lead people. NO, I am not saying that it is a sin to close your eyes…but when you do it the entire time it becomes a distraction.
#2 - You are not the preacher—SING!
I attended a conference once where the worship leader thought he was supposed to preach a sermon—we’ve all been there!!! Lee does an excellent job of setting songs up in a minute or less…and I am spoiled. (The only people getting really mad right now are worship leaders who talk a lot!)
#3 - Surround yourself with talented people.
Talent matters—the ONLY organization in the world that doesn’t get this is the church. We’ve all been to the service where the person got up to sing BUT could not sing…and we cringed…and then we saw them after church and lied by saying, “I really enjoyed that!”
#4 - Write songs
Even if you never use them in a service…write them…it will stretch you creatively.
#5 - Go to concerts
Lee goes to concerts all the time to see what the latest sound is and how artists are connecting with contemporary culture. Just recently he went to see Justin Timberlake in Atlanta…and I think he has gone to nearly every U2 show that he can. Seriously—I would say he goes to at least 40-50 shows per year, most of them being non-Christian venues, and he comes back refreshed with ideas.
#6 - Read Scripture
Believe it or not—the earliest worship music was written in the Bible and not in some hymnal at your local Christian bookstore. Lee always has his nose in the Bible…and He knows the word so well that he intimidates me sometimes!
#7 - Work in unison with the pastor
Lee and I are in creative planning sessions every week. He knows the sermon topic sometimes months in advance and spends time praying over songs and set lists. After we discuss the message in a creative meeting we then talk about the music. We don’t do the “I do the message, you do the music and then we will see what happens.” We are a team!!!
That is all I had—but Lee wanted me to mention one more…
#8 - Place God’s dream before your own.
The church is God’s dream…not your worship album! Jump into a local church and build something eternal instead of being so freakishly obsessed with you!!! Lee and I have met so many talented musicians who spend time trying to “make it” when they should be partnering with the church in developing fully devoted followers of Jesus.
When you place God’s dream in front of your dreams—it’s amazing what can take place. Lee is actually going into the studio to record a worship album this fall…and the church is sponsoring the project! Why? Because he is dedicated to Jesus and NewSpring…he’s put in seven years here and this church believes in him! I can’t wait for it to be released…it’s going to be amazing! Thanks Lee…it is an honor to work with you bro!
By the way—Lee will be doing a guest post next week on this site about what a pastor should know from a worship leaders point of view!!!