When it comes to preparing for Sunday's worship, we have the usual routines.
We pick our songs, we arrange the music, we schedule the band, we rehearse. But what if I told you there was more to your preparation than that? What if I told you there were ways to leverage your influence on a deeper level each weekend?
I know, we're all busy. But no one wants to get stuck in dead routines that have no meaning. This post is all about breathing life into those rhythms we keep every week.
A couple weeks ago, I didn't lead worship. Rather, I had the privilege of watching some of our young volunteer worship leaders lead our campuses in worship.
In that moment, I realized that what was happening was bigger than me. I wasn't front and center. I wasn't leading worship. But I was training and releasing others to do so. That's an exciting moment—when you realize your not just building a career or name for yourself—you're building people.
That's what these routines are for—to assist us in building the Kingdom of God in our local churches.
Here are 5 often-neglected routines for worship leaders. I like to call this my Weekend Preparation Checklist. There are other things I do, but this serves as a reminder for me to keep my eyes on what is most important. Let's seek first the Kingdom together.
1. Pray for God to move. Something that is missing in our services is anticipation—expecting God to move. We've become content with songs, sermons, and religious routines. Our hearts have become bored and we've occupied that boredom with something less than face to face encounters with Jesus.
Is it possible that our standards of professionalism (a good thing) are a distraction from what matters most? Let's reclaim the anticipation that anything is possible in the presence of God. What if you showed up on the edge of your seat, in wide eyed wonder, waiting to see Jesus? What if your entire church did? How would that change corporate worship?
2. Pray for the church. Are your song choices an outflow of prayers for your congregation? You shouldn't be choosing songs in a vacuum. You shouldn't simply look to what's hot in worship music. Be in touch with your people's needs. Listen to their stories. Ask God to reveal what needs to be said and sung and shouted from the rooftops on Sunday morning.
Make this a routine. Pray: "God, give me a heart for your people not just my songs. Open blinded eyes to see the glories of Christ. Bring another lost soul from darkness into light this weekend." Pray these prayers and watch how your worship leading changes.
3. Disciple someone. It's time for you to stop just getting stuff done. Resist the urge to just do your job. Every Sunday, every service, every rehearsal is an opportunity to disciple someone—to invest what you know into another. This has made all the difference for me in approaching weekend ministry.
It's never just about being used by God. It's about seeing others be used by God. It's not about doing ministry but equipping others to do ministry. It's not about David leading worship but about raising up others to do what I do, hopefully better than I do it.
We all like to be needed. We want to be indispensable, missed when we're gone, loved for what we do. But here's the truth: you shouldn't be indispensable to your church because no one else can do what you do. You should be indispensable because you equip lots of people to do what you do. That is where you'll actually add the most value.
4. Become familiar with His presence. One of my greatest fears is to enter into worship and hear God say, "Depart from me, I never knew you." I know, I know—that's super dramatic, but I don't want Sunday's songs to be my only connection to Heaven. I don't want the Holy Spirit to say, "Who are you? Where have you been?"
Pray this: "Lord, help my encounters with You to become a habit—consistent, often, second nature."
Our strongest worship leading will flow from consistent encounters with Jesus. To be a great leader, you don't need to be the best or know all the facts. You need to be hungry. Hunger comes from a steady gaze on Jesus. It's a paradox. The more you see, the more you're satisfied in Him yet desperate for more.
5. Make a connection. A while back, I realized that weekends could come and go and I never talked to anyone. People knew me because of my visibility as a worship leader, but I was making zero personal connections off the stage. I knew this had to change. Without the personal connections with people, I'm just doing a job.
So I've made it a goal to make at least one new, personal connection each weekend. I don't want to just hang out with the people I know. I want to connect a visitor to what God is doing. Maybe I'll connect them to my worship ministry. Maybe I'll connect them to another ministry. Maybe I'll lead them to Christ. Maybe I'll just be a listening ear and a smiling face.
Whatever the case, the integrity of my on-stage ministry is made effective by who I am off the stage. Don't be a rockstar. Get over yourself and connect with people.
Well that's enough from me. Your turn. Would love your feedback on this post.
What are some of your weekly routines that help you stay focused as a worship leader? How do you keep your eyes on what's most important?
David Santistevan is the worship pastor at Allison Park Church in Pittsburgh. For the original article, visit davidsantistevan.com.
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