So, you are ready to hire a “Worship Leader”, eh?

Here are some things you might want to consider.

• Don’t waste the Lord’s money on someone (male or female) who will just be leading songs. Surely someone in the congregation can pick out some some songs and start the church singing.

• Obviously, a vocally and instrumentally talented person adds a lot and will usually be an integral part of the determination. However, it is not as important as the person’s character and understanding.

• Find someone who is a worshipper. This may be hard to determine. Most leaders may think they are a real worshipper. A real worshipper will know what real worship does for himself — and will do for people — how it enriches, challenges, humbles, strengthens, and prepares people for life. Paxson Jeancake spoke of this in how he prepares to lead people in worship. In The Art of Worship he writes: “As a worship leader, it is my priestly duty to help retell the gospel story and message. Each week, it is my job to craft, write, select, find, uncover, and borrow: prayers, themes, texts, lyrics, melodies, and images — all for the purpose of helping us experience and express the beautiful, paradoxical truth of he gospel. What an awesome privilege. What a serious responsibility. … Sharing personal testimonies in corporate worship is a powerful way to communicate the gospel. …In our congregations, as part of the liturgy, we should regularly share the present stories of faith and conversion as an important facet of the ministry of the word”. Does you candidate have any idea of the power of the gospel in his own life and how that can be translated into the congregation’s experience? If not, he is not a worshipper, let alone a worship leader. Find someone else.

• You need someone who knows the difference between singing songs and worshipping. Worship leaders are much harder to find. There is so much more to worship, we cannot develop it here, other than to mention it involves Scripture, poetry, testimonies (both personal and congregational), challenges, enthusiasm, excitement, creativity, anticipation, and more.

• Find someone who has creativity to have people come expecting to see and hear a challenge to worship. Leaders who show no creativity are not able to accurately represent a creative, active God and lead people into an ever-deepening worship experience with Him. Such leaders are robbing the people of a growing realization and awareness of God, his creativity, his holiness, his grace and his “awesomeness”. Picking songs, using a set formula to fit songs into, using some tried-true pattern is not leading worship; it is merely song leading. People should come with an expectation that they will hear something new from and about God and it will be exciting. If you don’t have a such a worship leader, you are cheating your people. Keep looking.

• Find someone who is excited about worshipping. If the leader isn’t excited about his own worship, continually expanding in his worship experience, it is unlikely he will be able to lead the congregation into an ever-enriched worship experience. Does the candidate looks excited as he leads? He doesn’t have to jump nor yell, but if doesn’t make contact with the people, smile and portray that worship is an emotionally exciting and powerful time, keep looking.

• Will visitors find your congregation excited about worship? Will they see your people enjoying and enthralled by the awesome love and grace of God that actually is touching the lives of your people? You want a leader who is leading them into that experience. Keep looking.

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