I learned many things about worship leading that night. If you're like me who rambles or panics on stage, here are some practical tips:
1. Know your transitions well. I used to think that leading is highly dependent on the Spirit's leading. Though there is some truth to that, the phrase "highly dependent" may be faulty. When we're given a role to lead people, we don't just say, "I'mma just nail it when I get there" - oh dear, disaster! No, we have to prepare as much as a Pastor or a speaker does. We have to know what to say during, before, and after a song. Sure, those scripts won't sound the same when we get there, but those are guides so you won't get lost. There were so many times when I led worship in the past and I said things that made people go, "HUH!??? What the heck is she saying!?" Obviously, I wasn't prepared.
2. Awkward silence is not exactly awkward. Sometimes, there needs to be a time of silence. Talking all the time may distract others from grasping the words of the song they have heard so far. Just as we all have the time to pause after a good read, worship leading has the same concept. We need time for our brains and emotions to pauuuuseeee and procccessss.
3. Don't just stand there, move! Hehe. I know it took me years to finally break free from being shy, but you just have to let go. If you want to lead people, you have to prompt them not just through words, but through action. Once people see that you're on stage, the role automatically changes. You are a leader. So show leadership by setting an example to mean what you say or sing on stage.
4. Leaders are not extra special before the Lord. We are all one and the same in the eyes of God. The whole purpose of a church service or a praise and worship night is not to glorify the people on stage. That's a lie from the Devil. The purpose is to lead people, to guide them, and usher them into worshipping Jesus. We are one and the same before a glorious God.
5. Songs give us the words to say. Just like a Hallmark card that we give on special occasions, worship songs are created to help us express what we want to tell God. Songs should not be selected JUST because they sound nice. Songs are selected because it is Biblically sound and are full of substance.
6. Dig deep into your heart. I've been a Christian all my life. I was pretty much born and raised in a Christian home. Because of this, the tendency is to be complacent and feel unmoved by truths that you've heard all your life. It's easier for believers to feel moved when they accept Jesus as their Savior later on in life. They see a transformation from darkness to light. But I believe the challenge for most believers like me is to exert effort into discovering a unique encounter with God like never before. Think about those times when God truly showed his grace and kindness towards you. Those are enough to move you into worshipping a loving God.
7. Feelings don't equal devotion. Just because you don't feel anything doesn't mean you're not worshipping God. Or just because you're all out in emotions doesn't mean you're worshipping. Feelings are not barometers of how small or big your faith is. God sees the heart above all else. I know that the melody of a song has the ability to move hearts. But if you take that away and write the lyrics in a piece of paper, read them, you'll discover something else. Ask yourself, "Do I really mean what I'm singing/ saying here?"
8. This may sound silly, but watch YouTube or Prince of Egypt. I am a visual learner and when I can visualize God actually working, it moves me. There was a scene in Prince of Egypt where He calls Moses towards the burning bush. OMG! What a beautiful scene! Or how about the scene where He parts the sea!? It's easy to read the Bible without visualizing, but when you picture God working and communicating in the Old Testament, you can't help but get chills. Watch films to help you remember stories of the past. The Passion of the Christ is an awesome way to help you think about the pain He went through for you and me.
This is all I have to say. I know I have more. But whew. Those all came up to me when I led worship that night. It is all by His grace. I hope I helped you!
Ignite2 August 31, 2012