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A Leader of Worship

A Leader of Worship

By Ben Woodward on February 05, 2012

The hardest thing about being a worship leader isn’t trying to come up with a musically dynamic set list. It’s not working with a band or figuring out the dynamics of a worship team or learning how to dance with church leadership.

In my opinion, the hardest thing about being a worship leader is remembering that you are not just a song leader or a service leader; you are a leader in worship.

Anybody can sing a song (well, almost anybody) and it’s not hard to find someone to lead a service. Now, their skill level may determine the quality of the event, but it’s not hard to find someone to fill the spot.

But leading worship is not about performing a function; it’s about embodying a way of life.

If you think that worship is a song or a service, then you will have trouble understanding this concept. If you approach Sunday morning or any other regular service with the idea that this event is worship, then you no longer become a worship leader; you become a service leader or a song leader.

Being a worship leader has little to do with performing a primary service function on a Sunday and everything to do with embodying a lifestyle and permanent expression in response to God’s grace on our lives. Our lives are the expression of worship. Every moment of every day we embody what true worship is and the whole world looks at us to see if it’s authentic. How do they love their spouse, what kind of work ethic do they have, what kind of things do they talk about, do they live in accordance with the message they preach?

The way I always describe worship is this; worship is a life lived in response to the worthiness of Jesus as King. That’s a mouthful to chew on, but that is what true worship is.

When you apply this to a musical expression, you become acutely aware that worship has little to do with the four chords that I play or even how well I play them. If worship was excellence in music, then we would all put on Adele’s CD during our services and lift our hands in wonder and worship (forgive me those of you who don’t like her music. It’s not an endorsement, it’s just an example. She did sell almost 6 million of her 21 album last year).

Worship as a musical expression is more than just excellence and skill. While they are important, they alone do not make a song “worship”. And that is the thing most easily forgotten as a worship leader.

The hardest thing about being a worship leader is remembering that you are a leader in worship, not just a leader in music and song. While you can be a worship leader and be excellent in music, you cannot be excellent in music and assume that qualifies you as a worship leader.

John Piper says it like this:

“All of life is the outshining of what you truly value and cherish and treasure. Therefore all of life is worship. Either of God, or something else.”

If you desire to be called a leader in worship, then make sure your life is lived as worship to God before you step on stage. Then your worship will be a result of the life you live, not the song you sing.

-Ben Woodward

Ben Woodward is an award winning singer/songwriter and worship leader who travels all over the world teaching on worship and prayer. His new worship EP entitled The Worship EP is available from www.somethingelserecords.com or on iTunes.

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Ben Woodward

Ben Woodward (Guest Writer)

Ben is an Australian bred singer/songwriter and worship leader that writes poignant and impacting songs about life and spirituality. Blurring the lines between singer/songwriter, rock and pop, Ben navigates the musical waters with soaring, intense vocals and driving, catchy melodies. These days he can be found in Roseville, CA, with his wife and three children, primarily serving as the Worship Pastor at The Rock of Roseville. His new EP entitled "This Beautiful Life" will drop on May 1, 2014.