Worship Leading Philosophy


I think it’s important for the philosophy of the worship leader to match the philosophy of the pastor and the philosophy of the church service on Sunday. Here’s something I wrote and sent to all of our worship leaders, not as a response to anything, but as a reminder.

– I like upbeat and celebration rather than intimate and thoughtful.  It’s okay to do these kind of songs, but make them the spice rather than the meal.

– I like to get up right after a rockin’ song, not after some prayerful meditation. I typically start pretty light and funny and conversational, so a slow song doesn’t set that up well.

– I love ending the service with something loud and memorable. either a performance tune or a rockin worhsip song. get people leaving on a high note.

– We love opening the service with a popular cover tune. That kind of stuff unfolds people’s arms. If a guest is there and he hears a popular song, he will relax and be more receptive to the message. this isn’t a stand up and sing song.

– We need to program and pick songs with the unchurched in mind. If it would sound confusing to someone who hasn’t grown up in church, we probably shouldn’t do it.

– We like songs for dudes. not necessarily love songs to Jesus about how beautiful he is or how intimate we love him.  That may be true, but most guys don’t talk like that.

– We are rock and roll, and we like it loud

– I like a mix of songs that people will sing and maybe one new or newer tune each week.  If it’s all new, then we will lose people.  if it’s all old, then we will become boring.

– I don’t like it when worship leaders set up songs for 2-3 minutes. The little sentences during intros or quoting a verse during a guitar solo is very cool, but in general, I’ll do the talking and you do the singing.  I promise not to pick up your guitar during my sermon and lead 10 extra minutes of worship if you promise not to preach a sermon setting up a song.

– A worship leaders job is to lead people in worship, not just worship personally.  If a singer has his eyes closed, he’s not engaging the crowd.  you’re a worship LEADER.  if nobody is following, you’re not leading.

– Think of how the words would sound to unchurched men. that’s the filter. If a song has a confusing lyric, we need to explain what it means or skip it.

– It’s nice when the songs fit the theme, but we connect those dots way more than our people do. there are some awesome songs that are just awesome to sing. the song right before the message and right after the message should fit the best…some of the other songs can just be great songs. if they all fit the theme, then that’s great…but an unsingable song that fits the theme doesn’t do much for most people.

– It may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s not…old hymns redone are also connecting points. People in Cartersville have some church background, so reaching back and pulling something that they remember and updating it is a great way to make a connection.


5 comments so far

  1. […] Leaf Does it Right (and so do many others), and THANKS! February 3, 2009 Read this post on Behind the Leaf a couple of days ago. It’s a great list of philosophical traits in their worship. As a […]

  2. John Weis on


    Thanks for all of your service to the church! I really like your first point about unison to the leadership of the church. With that in mind, are you suggesting these as your own preferences, or as general guidelines for modern American worship services?

    If it is the latter, I don’t mean to seem contrarian, but I disagree with you on a large number of your points:

    “We like songs for dudes. not necessarily love songs to Jesus” – Jesus, being the only true man (and our reference for how a man should be) was spoke primarily concerning the intimate love of the Father. The fact that men in our culture are unable to converse in this manner should be the alarming part. We as Christians need to be changing the culture, not conforming our worship to it.

    Don’t get me wrong, I totally believe that we need to be evangelical in our worship. However, I believe that this occurs in the spirit of the on-looker who will see the reality of the worship and realizes that he was created to worship (Jer 31:33). I fully support the notion of communicating to the those who are not Christians, however, I believe that this can be done without sacrificing the extremely mystical nature of worship.

    Also, “A worship leaders job is to lead people in worship” – A worship leader’s service is in the worship of God.

    Could you clarify this statement: “If it would sound confusing to someone who hasn’t grown up in church, we probably shouldn’t do it” – the Cross is confusing those who have grown up in church. How exactly should we then write our songs?

  3. Brad Christian on

    I love how people keep coming over to my blog and commenting rather then commenting here!

  4. […] Worship Leading Philosophy « Behind the Leaf […]

  5. […] Worship Leading Philosophy « Behind the Leaf […]

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