I have had the privilege to work with some amazing worship leaders. People of talent and passion. But I have never had to search for a worship leader. As we sat in Florida at Coral Ridge Presbyterian church this last Sunday I thought through the things in the musical portion of worship that I highly valued. Emphasis on congregational singing. Musical ability and creativity. And the expressed heart of the leader to glorify Christ.
Beyond what I value, what should be baselines for finding a worship leader? I have a few friends looking for leader in their churches and I thought this list of marks of a healthy worship leader from Alex Duke was worthwhile and even important.
Among the marks that Duke sees of a worship leader are these that stood out to me:
“3. Your worship leader should be invisible (almost).”
Here the emphasis is on the whole church singing. Can a quest walk away thinking “wow those people can sing” or is it “wow that one guy can sing?” This is a big distinction in the performance versus worship category.
“5. Your worship leader should work in close tandem with the preacher.”
This goes without saying… I hope.
“7. Your worship leader should be committed to the explicit worship of Jesus.”
The tune doesn’t matter much but the words sure do. Are our songs theological (and right) exalting Jesus? They should be.
“9. Your worship leader should be chiefly concerned with honoring God and upholding Jesus and the gospel, more than reaching the next generation or any other pre-determined demographic.”
The leader’s focus should be on revelry in the gospel. This means they are not there on their own or others’ determination to reach a specific preference group in the church or without. In the modern church we sadly put too much on the worship leader to “attract” when their role is to bolster the worship of the church in pursuit of Jesus, without preference.
Duke’s whole list is worth a look. Now get to worshiping!