I was at a conference recently talking to Todd Fields, one of the worship leaders at North Point Church in Atlanta. Todd does a lot of worship leader coaching. I asked him what was the most common thing that worship leaders needed to work on. He said that it was, by far, their ability to talk to the congregation as they were leading. He spent the most time working with them on this skill. When I first began leading worship I struggled with this a lot. Here are some of my thoughts on how to get better at speaking to the congregation.
- Remember why you’re saying something: It is to help people connect their hearts to what they’re singing. It isn’t to make you look clever or to “warm up” the crowd. It’s to help them connect their hearts in worship.
- Plan it out. Don’t expect that you’ll just be able to come up with something inspiring on the fly. I always think through what I’m going to say. Often I write it out before hand to make sure my thoughts are clear. Then I rehearse it by myself, and sometimes with the band.
- It’s not about you. Don’t talk about yourself too much. And don’t tell stories where you’re the hero. It sounds self serving and off-putting.
- Brevity is crucial. You need to craft what you’re going to say so you don’t waste time trying to get it out.
- Be inviting, inclusive and positive. Use “We, Us” instead of “I, me” in your exhorting.
- Don’t preach the sermon. Leave something for the Pastor! Don’t give away his key points!
- A little goes a long way. You don’t need to talk about every song in the set. But sharing your heart once in the midst of a worship set can be very powerful.
I’ll be coming with more aids for worship leaders who struggle with speaking to the congregation while they’re leading. Stay Tuned!