I thought I should post helpful tips on how a growing worship leader can prepare to lead a praise & worship session for a church service/event.
Here is me writing from how the Holy Spirit has helped me, time and again. I wasn’t really taught all of these things this way, but I picked them up as the Holy Spirit helped me.
Fundamentally, your offering of praise & worship to God must be given your best efforts at all times. Offering the best starts from your focus and your preparation. God is your focus, not man. Let God be the focus of your desire for giving your best, not impressing people.
- Ask the Holy Spirit.
- Build and rehearse your song list.
- Rehearse with musicians.
- Bible reference.
- Spend time in prayers.
- Meditation time.
- Last minute checks.
1. Ask The Holy Spirit:
Leading praise and worship is a spiritual assignment, and to successfully executive or complete any spiritual assignment, you cannot do without your no.1 spiritual guide and helper, the Holy Spirit. Before you start putting any songs together, ask the Holy Spirit to help you with the right songs. He knows the mind of God, as well as the hearts and circumstances of the people that will be present at the meeting. He is the one that can truly help everyone to focus on Jesus Christ during the praise/worship, and also minister to people’s needs. Ask for more inspiration, revelation and understanding. You would do well to pray in tongues also, for as long as you want, because that will help also.
2. Build & Rehearse Your List:
After praying, start building your song list by singing them out and writing down the list of songs that come to your mind. Don’t just rush through listing the songs. Sing each song as it comes and reflect on the lyrics and flow of each song, and let the flow of that song connect with next. This can happen easily if you allow each song minister to you as you sing it. Somehow, by the help of the Holy Spirit, you’ll be able to connect the flow of the songs, from one to another.
If you’re looking to lead praise worship for about 30 mins using contemporary songs, you will likely have a list of 5-10 songs, and If it’s using traditional songs or a blend of contemporary and traditional songs you will likely have 15-25 songs, because traditional songs are more of short choruses with or without verses, and the different traditional songs usually flow smoothly from one to another.
3. Rehearse With Musicians:
First, you need to rehearse with your keyboardist/pianist alone. Work with him to put a few things in order where needed, like keys, songs transitions, arrangement, etc.
Second, create a time to rehearse with other back-up singers, the keyboardist, drummer, bassist, etc. This way you can get the best key(s) for you and the back-up singers, for each song. This a regular for a functioning worship team.
For a very young worship leader who’s inexperienced, you can try asking for the inputs of a ‘more experienced, humble and anointed worship leader’. His/her advice might help reaffirm something the Holy Spirit has laid on your heart or help open your eyes to more ways you can what you are struggling with.
4. Bible Reference:
This is very helpful for me personally. It keeps working for me. I see this as building your praise and worship songs in the word of God. Just like building a house on a solid rock; it will surely stand.
Find scriptures which will strengthen your spirit and help achieve the focus of the worship session you’re preparing to lead. They help you gain more insight into what you’re preparing to do. You will gain new revelation if you take time to meditate on them.
Try to find scriptures that relate to every song you have listed, if you can. When leading the praise and worship session, the Holy Spirit can remind you of the inspirations you have received from these scriptures and you can use them to exhort, inspire and guide the congregation into a more focus worship experience.
5. Spend Time In Prayers:
Pray, pray, pray!!! Pray without ceasing. You need to engage the help of the Holy Spirit. Practice makes things easy, but not perfect. With prayer you engage the help of the Holy Spirit to put in order all that you can’t and even make better the things you have prepared.
Pray not just for yourself, but also for everyone else involved; backup singers, instrumentalists, sound and technical crew, multimedia crew and the congregation. Pray against distractions and pray for unity of purpose among your worship team, sound crew and multimedia crew, because you’re all leading the congregation together. Faults with singing arrangements, sound or multimedia screens can distract members of the congregation and you don’t want that, so pray.
I’ve seen many worship leaders who rehearse well but don’t pray well enough, so they end up putting up a good charismatic performance but fail to minister life. So it’s more of an entertaining session instead of a life-giving encounter with the Holy Spirit. So pray!!!
Pray in understanding and pray in tongues, as the Holy Spirit gives you utterance. Pray for long periods and/or short periods at different times.
6. Meditation Time:
At this time, you’re done with your rehearsals and probably a day to your ministration or hours to it. Just sing and meditate on your songs and the scriptures you have. Let them minister to you over and again. Let your spirit be united with everything.
One of the things I do most times if I have the tracks on my laptop, I play them through time and again all through the night and in the morning before leaving home for the church service.
One of the things I also do especially for Sunday morning services, when it’s about an hour to the time, I avoid all distractions, chit-chat, random discussions, etc. Find a solemn place, pray in tongues while reading through the scriptures I have prepared with. I want to be fully focused till I step on the altar to lead. I believe this will work for you also if you give it a go.
7. Last Minute Checks:
Part of the things you need to do in the last few hours/minutes.
- Ensure the songs are queue on the computer with the multimedia crew and ensure the lyrics are correct.
- Sound check with everyone that’s going to lead with you; backup singers and instrumentalists. Get the right sound output – texture, volume, balance. Ensure the musical instruments don’t drown the voices. Right balance.
- Ensure the microphones and speakers are working properly. You needn’t strain your ears before you can hear yourselves on the stage monitors. You need to hear it load and clear.
- Everyone in the worship team should pray together, singers and instrumentalists.
If you still have some moments of free time before the service or event starts, use it to stay calm, meditating on scriptures you have prepared with and/or speaking in tongues. I believe the backup singers and instrumentalists should do same. It would really be great if they do.
After all is said and done, go ahead and perform your ministerial duty to the glory of God. *smiles*
I believe if you use this guideline you will be really glad you did. God bless you.
Ps: I first wrote and published this article in June 2015, but I had to rewrite it today after my blog had database issues that led to loss of some articles months ago. I’m glad I got this back online. Feel free to leave your comments in the box below.