I am sharing ten practical ways to engage your congregation in worship. I have learned these methods through my many wins and losses as a worship leader.
My prayer is that these ten tips will inspire you to grow in your gifts, so that the church will rise up to its boundless, artistic, and powerfully anointed potential!
9. Be a Motivator
Every move you make and every word you speak will be communicating one of two things — watch me, or worship with me.
Great worship leaders make people forget about them and want to worship. Worship leaders who have more of a performance-based mindset have a hard time leading people in worship.
People instinctively know when you’re performing and when you’re worshiping. So how do you learn to worship while you’re leading? Learn to become unimpressed with the loftiness of man [whether you are impressed with yourself or somebody else] and become overwhelmed with the awesomeness of God!
Assuming that we’ve got what’s happening on the inside straightened out, here are some suggestions/tips to do on the outside to motivate your congregation to worship. These “tricks of the trade” will help your congregation make a u-turn from being spectators into participants — transforming them from a quiet audience into a massive worship choir!
Shut down the band and have everyone sing a cappella. This creates dynamics in your worship set. Not only does your congregation get to hear themselves, it can be nice to give everyone’s ears a break from hearing your band’s wall of sound.
Tell them to sing again and listen to how beautiful they sound.
With the band continuing to play, tell the worship team singers to stop singing and tell the congregation you want to hear only them sing. This puts a healthy sense of pressure on them to sing.
Create hand motions on the chorus of a song. You might be surprised how getting peoples’ bodies involved helps them focus on what they’re singing. Also, when done right, adults are a lot more like children than you might think.
Have just the women sing a verse and then the men.
Sit them down after a couple of songs to rest, then stand them back up. Having people stand gets their attention.
Stand them up on that big chorus or modulation. Also, sometimes you just need to be aware of how the Spirit is moving and let people stand if it feels right.
Ask them to give applause to the Lord. Applause can be a very worshipful thing and can sometimes help break people out of a stale moment.
Try doing acoustic services periodically. Some worship teams tend to overwhelm their congregation with intricate arrangements and too much relentless volume. Simplifying can be a good reminder that it’s not about the show and also an opportunity for them to hear themselves with less distractions.
Next week, I’ll discuss how pacing yourself helps engage your congregation in worship and helps prevent burnout.