Empowering Student Worship Leaders
by CJ Limvalencia
Before we begin: I always stress to students that worship isn’t exclusive to music; rather, it’s any act done to honour and lift high the name of the Lord! However, the term worship leader in this day and age refers to individuals who the congregation looks to in facilitating a time of worship through music and song. So, this post will focus on empowering students to become and live out the role of such a leader.
There are two things to keep in mind before a student (or anyone, for that matter) is ready to lead worship: foundation and attitude.
- FOUNDATION: By foundation, I mean the student evidently understands and strives to live a life of worship that follows after Christ, has a desire to serve the church body, and has music abilities. If these items are unmet, he or she won’t even know where to begin to point others to the throne room of God!
- ATTITUDE: A certain attitude toward worship leading is needed. Worship leading isn’t so much about singing the lead part of a song, but about shepherding the congregation into a time of exaltation, celebration, remembrance, surrender, and so on through music.
I liken the role of a worship leader to that of a small group leader. Small group leaders are responsible for preparing a discussion or lesson on a certain topic, right? They’re to come ready to facilitate discussion, guide conversation, listen to and encourage others, be ready to explain Biblical truths and share what God has placed on their heart, create a safe environment for openness, honesty, and vulnerability…
Isn’t worship leading the same thing? Aren’t worship leaders responsible for preparing songs and set lists, coming to rehearsal ready to facilitate discussion about the song structure and themes, guide conversation, listen to and encourage teammates, to… you get the point!
Without this kind of attitude, students (and adults!) are just musicians. Now, serving as a musician on a worship team is a wonderful thing; however, it’s not to be confused with worship leading!
- SO… if you have a student that has a good foundation and understands the attitude that worship leaders must have, how can you empower him or her to be a worship leader? Here are some ideas:
- Provide opportunity! Students need a place to exercise, practice, and grow. Schedule worship music times at midweek youth gatherings, on Sunday mornings, in small group settings, and so on.
- Give feedback! Provide encouragement and constructive criticism. The goal is for him or her to grow! Maybe this student is awesome at leading others in prayer but needs to work on communicating with the drummer. Don’t withhold any feedback that would help this student improve (even if musicians and other artists are be known for being sensitive… believe me, I’m one of them!).
- Fuel their interest! Send them worship songs to listen to, show them worship music videos of live performances… moreover, what are his or her options to continue serving after graduation? Is there an internship or Bible college program he or she could apply for? Can you get this student involved in empowering younger students?
Hope you’ve found this helpful!