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!
7. Be Musically Prepared
To quote my good friend, producer and drummer Bob Wilson – God has called you to be the best that you can be. Your best might look different than my best or someone else’s best, but I believe we are all called to give Him our best praise. No matter who you are, how young or how old, beginner or pro, we should strive to give our best and keep growing and improving.
So how do we grow musically?
Play those scales and rudiments as unto the Lord. Make it all part of your devotions to Him. The Lord may be planning on opening up new opportunities for you. It’s your job to be prepared when those open doors come. When you do something with excellence, it reflects who God is and gives you added credibility with those you are leading.
Also, make sure your worship team rehearses. I’m amazed how often I hear that a worship team just shows up and tries to half-heartedly pull it off. Did you know that when major acts prepare for a tour, they will rehearse every day for weeks before attempting to let anyone hear them? I know that with the challenges of most worship team members working regular jobs this is impossible, but we should always strive to do our best with the singers and musicians we have.
As the leader you should try to memorize everything. This will help you with your nerves and allow you to focus on the spiritual side of things.
You should pick songs according to who is on your team. At my church I have different musicians playing on different weeks. I will only choose songs that I think that particular group can handle.
I will also select songs according to how much rehearsal time I have. Typically, our worship team rehearsals last for two hours on a Saturday afternoon. When we’re finished rehearsing we have a meal together. This creates a great time for relational connection and a cushion in case we need a little extra rehearsal time. If I’m teaching a new song, I will make sure the rest of the songs are simple so we can spend a lot of time on the new one. The last thing you want to do is teach a new song and have your team be unsure and timid in how they sing and play it.
Tempo, Tempo, Tempo
Tempo is a big deal. Keeping a steady tempo puts your congregation at ease. Many churches play their fast songs too slow and their slow songs too fast. In the end all the songs end up being almost the same tempo, and this can make your set feel monotonous. One suggestion is to have your drummer play to a click on the medium and slow songs. Just let him or her lightly play their hi-hat to get you and the team going on the correct tempo. Just remember that if you do this, the drummer becomes the ultimate boss of the tempo. Learn to listen and follow him. In fact, one of the most important techniques in becoming a great worship team member is listening to each other. It’s the only way you will learn how to blend as a singer and play what’s needed as a musician!
Next week, I’ll discuss how being creative helps engage your congregation in worship.