From my personal few experiences as a worship leader, here are a few things I have come to understand can truly help you minister effectively during a praise and worship session, be it in a large church gathering or a house fellowship or a small group.
• Have a Spiritual Focus:
At the time of preparation, prayerfully have a definite focus for the session. Let the Holy Spirit open the eyes to what he needs to get done through you in that session. It could be focusing on the name of Jesus, or the Holy Spirit, or declaring God’s greatness or his mercy or his love. It could be a time of breaking yokes or inspiring hearts or reviving souls, etc. Get this settled in your heart by the help of the Holy Spirit and let him give you the right songs that will help achieve this focus.
• Exhort The People:
Just before I get started with singing, I have learned to set the ball rolling with the scriptures, so I always try to encourage and inspire the people to praise nad worship with scriptures. Preferably verses from the book of psalms, but it doesn’t have to be the Psalms only. Exhort the people with whatever scripture the Holy Spirit brings to your mind, and expand it. Many could be disturbed or distracted, and that can help them take the focus off whatever it is and focus of worshipping God.
I love to see it as letting the word of God be the foundation for what is about to happen and also letting it set the tone for the session.
• Engage The People:
Since it’s a congregational worship time, it’s good to find ways to get the people you’re leading involved.
I have found out from experience that getting people involved can help them come out of passivity.
At different times I’ve engaged the people I’m leading with clapping and singing, waving hands, shouting, dancing, jumping & more. Sometimes I ask the men to sing a certain part of the song and the women another part of the song. At times I signal to the musicians to bring the volume of the music down and ask the people to raise their voices and they can all hear themselves sing aloud unto God. It helps the people to be actively involved.
We’re all meant to sing to God in praise and worship and this helps to make that happen.
Be careful not to ask them to do things that you do not have scriptural understanding of, because this is not entertainment. The Psalms says we are to praise God with understanding (Psa. 47:7) . Asking them to do weird stuff can turn some people off and distract them from singing praises to God.
• Declare God’s Word:
As the worship ministration goes on, you can declare the word of God. The word of God carries the power of God and invokes the presence of God. It has the power to lift burdens in the life of people, break yokes and pull down strongholds in their minds at the worship meeting. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, declare the word of God over the people you’re leading. Declare it with passion and faith. It will liberate and inspire the people of God to praise and worship God. By the help of the Holy Spirit, as a worship leader, learn to declare God’s word while the music is still flowing, carrying the people along.
• Sing In The Spirit:
As you’re inspired by the Spirit of God, sing in tongues. I’ve seen the effect of this countless times whenever I’m given the responsibility to lead praise and worship. It helps to set the gathering on fire, people break into the liberty to praise and worship God with so much passion and focus and I know it that it’s the Holy Spirit at work in all of us.
Some people who could have been struggling to sing or worship or raise hands or dance, suddenly break into doing so without being prompted to do so with so much liberty.
• Be Sensitive:
Be sensitive to whatever the Holy Spirit would have you do spontaneously. Even if you already have a perfectly rehearsed song list, you still need to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. He can lead you to sing a certain song or a part of a song longer than you had planned. He might want you to be silent or calm for a period of time. He might even inspire you with a song that’s not on your song list. He can inspire you with words that will ministers to someone’s needs.
This can be very common for a worship leader/music minister who goes to minister at different events. If you’re not yet working in this dimension with the Holy Spirit as a worship leader, you should desire and pray towards it.
• Trust the Holy Spirit:
Settle it in the place of prayer and be rest assured that the Holy Spirit will touch lives. He knows the need of every single person at the meeting/event and He knows how to minister to them. Whether people fall down or not, shout or not, lose control or not, let your heart be at rest that the Spirit of God is doing what he wills. He’s the one who works the miracles, breaks yokes, heals, delivers, inspires, rebukes, instructs and so much more beyond our imagination.
• Be Thankful:
At the end of the session, regardless of what you see or hear, pleasing or not. Give thanks to God. Give thanks in faith with the whole of your heart for what is known and unknown to you. For the grace, anointing, blessings, miracles, et al, give thanks.
I believe these tips are helpful for the growing worship leader. Put them to use as the Spirit of God enables you. God bless you!
– Ladi Adewumi