Worship: Excellence vs Ministry

As a worship leader, I have a lot of things to learn. I think I’ll always have a lot of things to learn, no matter how long I do this. There are things that I believe I do well, and there are things that I know I don’t do well – at all. I came across a very insightful article over at Shrink The Church titled “Worship Excellence vs Worship Ministry – Which One Are You?” (click the title to go to the article at Shrink The Church).

So which one am I? I think I lean to the “ministry” side. A few things from that side that I feel like describe me:

  • Timing for me is pretty loose. This is all across the board – I’m not always punctual. I don’t always get things scheduled in Planning Center when I should. Practices are pretty loose as far as starting and ending time. If other people show up late, it doesn’t really bother me at all.
  • I tend to choose songs that move me. When I’m picking songs, I go for the ones that I use to enter into worship a lot. This may or may not be what the rest of the band or congregation feels moved by.

I’m not 100% on the “ministry” side of the continuum, but I’m closer to that than the other. Here are a few things that I’m going to try to make a habit of – things that I believe will make me a better worship leader:

  • Long-term planning/scheduling. I’m going to shoot to be at least a month ahead in terms of who’s playing and what we’re playing.
  • More focussed/organized rehearsals.
  • Practicing with a metronome. And practicing more often. I’ve been practicing with a metronome for a while now – but I don’t practice as much as I should. I’m going to shoot for some practice every day – preferably on the songs that I’ve got scheduled for that week.

Finally, there is a point made in the article that encourages a worship leader to show up early on Sunday morning and play through the entire set list, plugged in, before any other musicians arrive. I’m going to try to do this every week, and I think it will have numerous benefits, including:

  • I’ll be able to properly warm up my voice. I hate singing in the morning – this will help me out.
  • I’ll spend 30ish minutes in worship alone in the morning. How many times does the Bible talk about praising God in the morning? I believe this will allow my spirit to move into a more intimate place of worship when leading the congregation.
  • I’ll be there on time. Early, in fact. This is a big one for me.
  • I’ll be able to work on and anticipate any hiccups with the flow of worship from song-to-song, as well as polish any plans I have to speak between songs.

If you are a worship leader, and if you take the time to read the article, where to you stand? What would you change about how you lead, both during and between the services?