Leading Worship in Small Groups

Nervous about leading worship? Here are some tips to make it easier.

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God" (Col. 3:16).

1.Be Prepared. Always, always play or sing through the songs in order you plan to sing them before the group meeting. This helps you discover which songs are too high or low to sing in that particular key. It also helps you include or exclude songs if you have no instrumentation. ("Celebrate Jesus Celebrate," for example, has long pauses between lines intended for musical fills. A lack of music and singing during this time can produce awkwardness, rightly or wrongly so.)

Other questions to consider: Do you have the proper accompaniment (guitar, piano, CD, cassette, a capella)? Do you know the songs? Do you have song sheets for those who don't know the words? If you are the musician, do you need the music in front of you? Can you lead in the correct key without a musician?

2. Be Confident.Never apologize for leading. Speak and sing distinctly. If you make a mistake, make it loud and keep on moving. Always remember that everyone expects the worship leader to lead. If you lead, they will follow. Allowing times of silence without direction can cause people to second guess what is happening; sometimes strong-willed people will interpret this as a lack of leadership and inappropriately try to move things along if they think you are faltering.

3. Be Sensitive. Leading worship requires three sets of ears: physical ears to hear how the music is progressing, mental ears to gauge the atmosphere of the group, and spiritual ears to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying. Be especially sensitive for signals to move or to wait. Never rush worship ...

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