how to lead a worhsip meetingThe best way to learn how to lead praise and worship is to serve under another person who has more musical leadership ability than you do. Simply because a person has been designated as a praise and worship leader does not mean that the person is sensitive to the Holy Spirit and is able to immediately sense the direction that the Spirit moves within a worship meeting. Above all, minister in submission to your pastor or to any leader that is more sensitive to the move of the Spirit than you are. Worship meetings generally follow a “bell” pattern in spiritual intensity and depending on your leadership ability in worship you should do everything necessary to stretch out the level of spiritual intensity.

It is not enough to be submissive to your leader, it is also necessary to minister in unity. It is much more important to maintain unity among the leadership in a meeting than to insist on doing something merely because it is the correct way to do things. Discord in the leadership quenches the Spirit and renders our best efforts useless.

Before commenting about the rules for the worship leader, it is important to say that they are merely general comments and not rigid principles without exceptions. Occasionally the Lord works outside of the ordinary and the customary, but such occasions are an exception and not the rule.

Remember that the majority of the following points represent the ideal. God allows a lot of room for errors. The worship service will not fail just because we have not exactly reached our goals and objectives through the meeting.

Begin the meeting

Begin with light songs – begin with something light (preferably something that the musicians already know how to play). Have the musicians play songs that give light and joyful testimonies (concerning God but not to or for Him yet). While the people are entering into the church building, even if there is not yet an atmosphere of faith, there must at least be an atmosphere of hope. Unless the people have hope, they cannot attain faith. One thing is certain; stay away from devotional songs or songs that call for consecration in the beginning.

Use well-known songs – always begin with songs that everyone knows. Few things destroy a meeting from the start like choosing a song that the people do not know.

Begin where the people are spiritually – maybe you have already prayed sufficiently and are ready to enter into praise, but the people may not be. Move slowly until the majority of people are with you.

Start on the right musical note – the correct key of the song is necessary so that the congregation can sing in the best manner. Make sure that the musicians are already playing in the key that you want to use for the song that you plan to use to begin the meeting. In morning meetings, it is better to sing songs in a lower than usual key. In the morning, people’s voices not yet warmed up and it is hard to reach the higher notes.

Do not be mystical concerning the right song to begin the meeting with – the majority of people will not be able to remember what the first song of the meeting was anyway. The beginning of the meeting is the period of involvement and the first three songs should serve only to get the people to think of God. Maybe you feel that the Lord has given you a song, but it is better to use it later or you will waste it. Look for songs with the emphasis that you feel the Lord wants to stress for a given meeting.

The climax of the meetings

If we try to lead the people into spiritual songs too early in the meeting, the atmosphere will become sentimental and melancholic, on the level of the soul (natural level). The spiritual atmosphere becomes heavy and weaker brothers can even feel condemned because they want to respond but are not able to. Some try to please the worship leader by making movements as if they were worshiping but this just encourages religiosity.

What are spiritual songs? The answer is a full, interior response of the worshiper inspired by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:19). Spiritual songs are expressions of pure love offered in fresh spontaneity (Psalms 149:6; 66:17; Revelation 5:9).

As the meeting progresses, our whole being pours forth thanksgiving. At the end of the song, the leader will lead the group in a spontaneous expression of worship and praise in the spirit, a spiritual song to him who is worthy. If the leader is singing with a microphone, it is important that he sing the song in an intelligible tongue. In the Holy Spirit, each person should independently try to harmonize and mix the musical keys with the worship and praise of the rest of the church.

This new song can eventually appear (sometimes prophetically) through an individual, when the congregational singing diminishes in intensity. After this free and spontaneous expression, it is renewed for the whole church now that the individual spiritual song ends.

Get to know the songs that produce such a climax – not all songs are conducive to spiritual songs. Get to know which songs lead to the climax of worship and perfect them. Try to vary the songs in the meetings and have different songs for each type of emphasis.

Proceed slowly until reaching the high point of praise – reduce the rhythm a little before leading the congregation to exalted praise. This attitude serves as a subtle sign without words to the congregation and to the musicians.

Intensify the refrain – sometimes you can repeat the refrain or use the refrain from another song.

Learn to feel the culminating moment – there are correct moments for elevated praise. In order to find them you must be sensitive. If you wait too long, singing too many times, you can lose the intensity that you could have reached. However, if you do not sing long enough, the praise will not reach the intensity that it could have otherwise reached.