PREFACE: Theology
A. To ask for good worship, you must have a proper theology of worship.

1) For the sake of time and context, I’m gonna hit some of the major points and define some terms. This is a quick summation of ‘Broad Worship’ (meaning, not just songs, but all of life) from the book “Worship in Spirit & Truth” by John Frame. He says:

a) “Worship is the work of acknowledging the greatness of our covenant Lord.” – John Frame

b) How do we do that? Let’s define some terms.
i. Worship is: in the broad sense, a “labor and service” “honoring worth (the root of the word worship.” It is action and adoration shown by:

Expressions of affection, joy, and sadness
Confession of our faults
Making requests
Giving thanks

Listening to commands, promises, and exhortations
Presentation of gifts
Receiving cleansing
Eating & Drinking

These are things we see in everyday relationships, so the question is then...

c) What is Biblical Worship?
It’s the focusing of those elements on the true Object of worship...

i. The Lord, the ultimate one, the Creator and ruler of the heavens and the earth. Done in Jesus, our Savior, Empowered by the Holy Spirit.

d) Through what lens is this done? (Using the “focus” language)
i. God-Centered because of God’s control, authority and presence.
ii. Gospel-Centered because of His grace in redemption.
iii. Trinitarian because of God’s nature and His command to worship Him in “Spirit (the Holy Spirit) and truth (The Gospel).”
iv. Vertical & Horizontal because worship is both the praising of God greatness and the edification of His people using language both directed to Him and about Him. It’s both praise and pedagogy.
v. Broad & Narrow because our lives are to be “living sacrifices” that are obedient to God’s commands. Because worship (glorifying God) is the reason we exist in the first place, it’s going to be a lifestyle with specific religious acts commanded of us.

B. Worship Leaders as Pastors, Pastors as Worship Leaders
1) This is sometimes a point of contention, but I would argue it’s more semantics than anything else. Our culture has dubbed us who lead the musical element of worship, Worship Leaders and you guys Preachers. They’re not wrong. It’s what we do. But it’s also what you do. And what you do, we also do. You use prose and we use poetry. The preaching of the Word is worship. The declaration of Gospel truth, empowered by the Holy Spirit, for the glory of God and the edification and education of His people, admonishing them to live lives of obedience and praise?

Welcome to the club, preachers.

So... as co-laborers in Worship Leading, we need to acknowledge the Pastoral role of the musical Worship Leaders. Title or not, they’re functioning Pastors. They’re on stage, with microphones, declaring truths to and with ALL of your people, and leading teams of them throughout the week to accomplish it. Sounds very similar to your job description, does it not. They’ve got, on average, 30 minutes of face- time at your gathering with your people. For some of our churches, that’s nearly equal time to you preachers. They’re walking them through theology and doxology, adoration and praise, confession of sin, the corporate declaration of scripture, corporate prayer, posturing them for the hearing of the preached Word, preparing their hearts for the sacraments etc etc? What else would you call this other than Pastoral?

And so what do you do? I’m gonna give three main things

1) Disciple Them
2) Capitalize Them
3) Challenge Them

So... Firstly...

A) All ministry starts with discipleship. We see this is the Great Commission.
But how do you disciple the
music guy? Right?! Well...alright... how would you disciple a preaching Pastor or Elder candidate? Filling them with the Gospel. Showing them Christ in all of Scripture. Speaking into their worldview. Watching their blindspots. Calling them to repentance and obedience. Modeling grace and truth in love. Challenging them in growth in their knowledge and love of God and His Word. Helping them in their public speaking and their ability to lead your church in grace and truth with the declaration of the Word.

Do that.

There’s no special way to disciple the music guy. The standard for leadership in scripture doesn’t vary for those called to lead Christ’s bride. And we need nearly the same ministry skill sets you do. And as acting leaders, the same character traits.

Disclaimer: Misconception
MYTH: Artistic types don’t care much for truth. They just want to be weird and artsy-fartsy guys who dabble in vaping and vegetarianism. I’ve only really experienced the opposite. Most worth-while songwriters I know, both within and without the Body, are students of history and philosophy. The adage “You can only write what you know” is particularly true. Artists LOVE truth because it helps us actualize our vision. Music, for example, isn’t some abstract, relative thing. It’s quite absolute. Nuanced? Absolutely. Varied tastes and preferences? Sure, but there ARE confines. There are rules. There are truths. Anyone who’s studied music can tell you that. Creative people, “Artistic types,” innovative people, CRAVE the truth because it’s the best inspiration. Remember, creativity is a natural outpouring of the Imago Dei.

a. Entertainers don’t care for truth. They’re looking for love, affection, acceptance, and validation through entertaining. This is generally fairly evident in their lack of willingness to submit to authority, and their relationships with others. They’re distant and hard to pin down. They try to avoid the messy stuff.

b. Calling
Sometimes people who are skilled and gifted in music, they often get thrust into the position of Worship Leader too. That’s my origin story (my start in ministry was as a placeholder for someone who really wanted the job). The love and pursuit of truth, like with those pursuing Preaching/Eldership, is a bit of a litmus test as to whether or not it’s their calling. Who’s glory are they concerned with? Who are they trying to please, their Pastor or their Savior? Most of these people are amazing people of God. They’re just trying to help. but you need to feel comfortable asking them if they really feel called to this. A lot of the times they’ll breath a sigh of relief because they “were just trying to help” and “they didn’t want to disappoint anyone by stepping down.”

1) Build Them Up
a) First: Basic Theological, Biblical & Gospel literacy.

Because communication is key in any relationship (personal and professional), we need to make sure we’ve effectively defined our terms. You need to be able to speak the same language. If your Worship Leader is fresh in their faith or still on “milk,” they’re gonna need a primer. Even those who have spent their lives in the church could use the refresher.

For those of us in the Reformed circles (especially the recent movements), this is especially crucial. We use a lot of words and concepts within leadership so often that we can assume others already know what we’re talking about.

Phrases like: Missional, Soteriology, Eschatology, Doxology, Ecclesiology, even The Gospel and it’s elements.

Don’t take for granted that the terms that we’ve been using for years are known and understood. I’ve had conversations with Worship Leaders who grew up in the church who have no idea what most of those mean. And generally not for any other reason than they’re not IN those conversations with you, and they’ve never been invited in. They’re not reading the same books and blogs. They haven’t attended the conferences and Pastor’s lunches, or things like this (San Diego Church Planters). They’re generally left to fend for themselves. Also, how can they know these things are important if they’re not told and shown their value? There is an information gap that you can and need to close.

Take them through the theological convictions of The Church. The Story of God, The Trinity, Soteriology, even some Church History, The 5 Solas, the Creeds, the Confessions, Catechisms etc. with the goal of these things becoming internalized and communicable.

Above all, ensure they can preach the Gospel, at least, to themselves. Knowing their need for the Object of their worship will only strengthen their ministry and faith.

This leads us to the Second Step...

2) Second: Be able to articulate and have ownership of the theological convictions of The Church, and your church.

a) Here we see some more unique phrases: Reformed, Gospel- Centered, Community, Missiology, and Contextualization. These are loaded. Just loaded. These phrases that need regular unpacking and refreshing. Just as you would ask any developing preaching Pastor to be able to internalize and articulate these things, you should be discipling your Worship Leader in and through them too.

This brings a unity in vision and purpose to your local body. Unified corporate worship is contextualized, theologically consistent and rich, Gospel-centered, knitting people together in both community and mission.

B) Guard and Protect Them
1) Undue Outside Pressures

a) An integral part of discipleship is protecting and guarding your leader from undue, outside pressures; and there are plenty, and they’re coming from all angles: from the world, from the “popular” worship culture, from their family, even from within their own church by the congregation, Pastors, and ultimately, (and this may be the worst) from themselves.

Are your Worship Leaders constantly trying to stay “current”? Do you have new songs piling on top of new songs? Are you encouraging this? Are you discouraging this? What is your leadership’s vision for corporate worship? Does your Worship Leader know it, and own it, and are they even invited to offer input? Are you simply asking him what pressures he might be feeling?

These are just some of the questions you need to be asking yourselves and your Worship Leaders because this can relieve them of certain assumed expectations. The more communication you have about the Worship Ministry, the better your Worship Leader can communicate about and within the Worship Ministry.

This can also help them ensure quality of song selection. And higher quality theology, leads to songs more firmly rooted in scripture, which leads to a song’s longevity, which ultimately leads to better discipleship for the whole church to God’s glory. And gives your Worship Leader confidence in moving forward knowing that you’re looking out for him.

2) Watch the Wells
Intro: This is a bit touchy, but I think it’s important. But you can judge that for yourselves.

a) Pay attention to what’s happening in the worship-wells your church is drawing from. No one is infallible. Movements wax and wane. Trends come and go. That’s just how life goes. But you, as the elders/shepherds need to be paying attention. This is where your particular discernment is important. But don’t be frightened. God is God and there’s a good chance you’re all singing Orthodox songs. However, as we know all too well, sometimes what’s popular isn’t the healthiest of fare.

But this can be a little difficult. Because worship songs don’t really come from secular sources, you’re being asked to evaluate other churches, ministries and songwriters.

I won’t bring up specific churches or ministries, but I would ask that you ask your Worship guy to look into it (help him to use those new theological muscles you’ve been helping him build). See if he runs into anything prominently askew or out of alignment with your church’s theology, vision and values. If so, then you check into it too. This is great discipleship for your Worship Leader: teaching him to watch for wolves.

Now, I’m not equating the singing of someone’s song or arrangement as an endorsement of that person or ministry’s actions or theology. Plenty of you Baptists quote “baby-dunkers” and you Presbies, love you some Spurgeon. We’re not gonna find sources in perfect alignment with our individual theological convictions all the time. But, just as we probably wouldn’t want you to quote Rob Bell (even it an orthodox quote) to bring home a point in your sermon, we should probably be looking out for the possible musical equivalents.

Now, you can use this as a chance to dig deeper, together. Encourage your Worship Leaders to go to trusted sources. From deep, vetted wells. Most of you have been in ministry long enough to know some. And keep your eyes and ears out for new stuff too. The songs with the longest life at my church are songs from those wells. Wells shown to me or even dug by trusted peers and pastors.

Instill the value of Quality over Quantity in your Worship Leader. Help them be thinking down the road. Bob Kauflin poses this question in his book “Worship Matters.” He asks

“If someone was born in our church and grew up singing our songs over the course of 20 years, how well would they know God?”

This mindset will help assuage the tendency for keeping up with the Jones’ and instead, gird up the value of looking for songs (lyrics) you could sing for 20 years. Not every song will make that cut. Not every song needs to, but this should probably be the primary lens.

This takes us into our next main theme

Intro: Here are a few practical ways to give your Worship Leaders a leg up. A) Liturgy (doxology)

1) Take the time to build a thoughtful liturgy. It doesn’t have to be spoken, printed or explained every week, it can just be your roadmap to your corporate gathering. Without one, it’s kind of a free-for-all. Historically the Church has used thoughtful liturgies to help disciple the congregation as a whole. It brings unity in theme and emphasis and an assurance of a weekly Scriptural foundation.

Scripturally we see the distinctive of corporate gathering entailing:

a) Public Reading of Scripture (1 Timothy 4:13)
b) Singing of Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs (Eph 5:19 & Col 3:16)
c) Corporate Prayer (1 Timothy 2:1)
d) Preaching of the Word (2 Timothy 4:2)
e) Sacraments of Baptism & the Lord’s Supper (modeled in Christ’s & Apostles’ ministries)

Historical we see some traditions on including:

f) A time for greeting and fellowship g) Announcements
h) Tithes & Offerings
i) Formal Benedictions

Start here. Evaluate your weekly order of service and see if you’re at least nailing the first 5 elements. Then, put it together WITH your Worship Pastor in the room. Young or old, experienced or green, their input is valuable. Music is a strange thing. It’s, in a way, both malleable and fixed. There’s some room for flexibility, but there are real limitations. Your Worship Pastor can help you pair Musical Worship with the other elements in a way that is both faithful to scripture, but sensitive to music’s limitations.

All too often our liturgies are brought with from either previous church life or based on (consciously or subconsciously) one person’s personal preference. And trust me, when you’re a Church Planter starting off, you’ve gotta roll with what you know. You’ve got A LOT to juggle and a liturgy is an easy thing to kind of copy and paste. But as your leadership team grows, it’s always good to invite their input and expertise into the mix to reevaluate the things that didn’t necessarily have extra or expert input. It models submission to one another AND pulls in the common value contextualization and plural leadership.

On top of the weekly Liturgy, there are number of calendar Thematic Liturgies. Yearly ones that address Holy Week, the Epiphany etc.
I want to address your week-in-week-out Sunday order of service.

At Infusion we’ve adopted a weekly Gospel-Centered liturgy for many reasons, most already stated previously. I know that “Gospel-Centered” sounds vague on the surface, but we try to be very specific and intentional. Along with incorporating the above mentioned scriptural elements and historical elements, our Musical Worship is ordered with the specific goal of Gospel proclamation.

We begin with the beginning; Creation, and end with “The End.” It looks like this.

Song 1) Creation
Song 2) Greatness of God
Song 3) Fall & Redemption (Work of Christ)
Song 4) Restoration (Work of the Spirit)
Song 5) Hope in Glory (either our assurance in death or the Parousia)

The purpose of this simple: Gospel Proclamation in all that we do. The sermon preaches the Gospel and the songs do too. Kevin DeYoung asks,

“If one were to attend your church and only hear the songs in your service, could they come to a saving faith in Jesus?”

That’s brutal guys. This is not a question generally asked of anyone besides the Preacher Pastor. But as I mentioned before, the Worship Leader IS a Preaching Pastor.

How you want the music dynamics to flow is your call. But we all too often get more bogged down by “flow” than “Truth.” We don’t have the musical notations for the Psalms or the hymns sung by the early Church and the Saints and Hosts of Heaven in Revelations. The Holy Spirit thought it fit to just give us Lyrics. So our call is to be faithful declarers of the Gospel truth.

A strong liturgy also guards against extra-biblical demands and pressures from culture AND the congregation. Not to mitigate the feedback and suggestions you guys get, but Worship Leaders hear at least one of the following almost every week:

Why don’t you sing this song?
I didn’t like that one song this week, you should do “this one” next time.

Why don’t we sing this song anymore?
Why do the songs we sing have so much structure?
Shouldn’t you be letting the spirit lead?
Why aren’t there more videos?
Why are there so many videos?
Why don’t we use the hymnals anymore?
Why can’t I be the worship leader?

Because the church and culture tends to view the Worship Leader not as a Pastor but as a Pandora playlist, they need your help. Err on the side of over-communicating his Pastoral role to your congregation. Include him in your mentions of “the Pastors.” The Worship Leader is generally younger than the other Pastors too, so be mindful of our tendency to both elevate and discount youth.

B) Plan
1) Know what you’ll be Preaching

a) Take the time to make a sermon schedule. Make it at least six weeks out. I’m not talking with individual message outlines, (though we wouldn’t complain) I’m talking: the Series or Book, Tentative Working Titles (they help guide us as we look ahead), and the portion of Scripture you’ll be working from. Most of you have two out of three of those already figured out. Now, we just need to finish it off, type it up and send it over.

That’s an invaluable roadmap for us to survey OUR plans and song schedules. THEN, as early in the week as possible (work with your music guy to pick day and time) send us your general plan and emphasis points. As I mentioned before, we want a unified Liturgy. We want the message and the worship to be complimentary and of mutual emphasis. We plan better when you plan better. Keep in mind, most of us have to coordinate our “sermon” with your sermon AND do it in perfect literal harmony with five other people. It’s not an easy task to build a proper liturgy around your particular emphasis every week.

Imagine it was flipped. Imagine you’re waiting for the Worship Leader to pick songs so you can get your work started. This is our life.

2) Know what you’ll be Singing
a) There is nothing sweeter than when, during the sermon, the Pastor pulls an emphasis point that starts with the words “in the next song we sing together, we’ll say these beautiful words of truth together...

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed Be of sin, the double-cure:

Save from wrath and make me pure

That is AMAZING. It models unity. And it shows the Worship Leader that your working relationship is symbiotic not just reactionary. Or reference a line or two of what we’ve sung in your closing prayer or benediction. You don’t have to do this every Sunday, but it would great shepherding for your Worship Leader and congregation by showing your continued co-laboring in Gospel declaration.

C) Autonomy
1) Genre & Timbre

Give them the freedom to suss things out a bit. Be careful of voicing your preference as orthodoxy. Instead, encourage contextualization. But be gracious. Music, though universal, is not easily mastered. Asking your young (or old), white Worship Leader to start playing gospel-style music is not a simple thing.

2) Song Selection & Arrangements
This portion is predicated on the previously mentioned points of healthy discipleship and growth. I understand your guys may not be ready for a ton of autonomy regarding Song Selection. So, use your discretion with that element, but be sure to exercise trust and communicate the healthy boundaries set up for your liturgy.

And please, try not to use your personal music taste to add or cut songs. It’s unkind and will stifle future creativity. Just because you didn’t like a particular arrangement doesn’t justify it’s 86-ing. Just because a new song fell flat the first time it was led doesn’t either. Give it a chance. Give your guys a chance. We know when something doesn’t land. We know when a particular arrangement comes out kinda forced and heavy-handed. Let us work it out. If you can kindly and humbly point out those things out, go for it maybe AFTER they try it again. I’ve tried songs and arrangements and after the first run 86’d them myself. I’ve also been able to go back to the drawing board and fix the problem patches, and those songs and arrangements are stronger for it. You guys get generally get YEARS between reusing sermons. So when you get to revisit them, you’ve grown a lot and can make the appropriate changes. We have days. Then we have to re-teach them to a group of people (worship team). So please have patience.

3) This is not to say we’re always good at admitting defeat. Song selection and arranging can get pretty personal, as I imagine, your sermons can be. It’s a part of our nature. So, if something is just not working, and you need to bring it up, preface it with an appeal to their expertise before assuming their ignorance. Something like “I’m not a musician, so this may sound funny or uninformed, but I was curious about “Insert Song Title” and how you think it’s going? Congregationally, it’s been: hard to follow; or: the lyrics just seem unclear as to who or what we’re singing about; or: it has a very forced feel to it unlike your other songs that have such a great and natural vibe.” This is helpful. This is modeling submission one to another. And because everyone and every relationship is different, I would implore ask yourself how you would feel if they told you your sermon was a dud.

D) Delegation (teach them don’t just tell them)
1) Walk them through delegation. step by step. Worship leaders can tend to be perfectionists, so the phrase “good enough” doesn’t really exist. So the idea of something not going as well as I could’ve done it, is frightening. Failure is frightening. And failure... by proxy... can be devastating. But, delegation is helpful both in hours saved, and by growing in faith. Be pre-occupied with helping them know what is their job Pastorally, and what you would encourage them to hand- off.

2) I am the worst at this. I always put off delegating until I’m drowning. Worship Leaders generally have a wide skill set: graphic design, video and audio editing, web stuff, social media, PowerPoint, general tech stuff, and Audio/Visual. So we can easily fill our hours with it. But should we? No.

So encourage delegation, and if your guy sucks at it, delegate his delegation. Find a Kingly guy to help him. And be sure reassure them of the Gospel and Christ’s promise to build His church.

E) Love, Friendship, Trust & Respect
1) All of these are predicated on our unity in our familial bond in Christ. If you don’t love and respect each other, this stuff will just be blind policies and not viewed as they should: co-laboring in the presentation of the Gospel for the salvation of souls and the edification of The Body, for the Glory of God.

2) In my now 10 year working relationship with Matt Ortiz, this has been probably the most crucial element. When I first started, he could’ve viewed me as a means to an end in keeping the musical ministry going at his church. He could’ve viewed me as expendable and easily replaceable if someone with more experience, character, or compatibility showed up. But he didn’t. He treated me like a brother; even one who was a bit lazy, a bit cynical and still kicking and screaming about this whole “being in ministry thing.” He poured into me, and he did it not as a king but as a servant. He had me over for meals and beers to hang out and just kick around ideas. He let me sleep in his living room on Saturday nights so I wouldn’t be late for church the next morning. He would offer gentle suggestions, and would humbly question my methodology with sentences that so invaluably began with “I’m not a musician, but” or “I was curious why this or that” or “what if you tried doing something like this” never with “I don’t like that song, never do it again” or “Do this like THAT person.” He also capitalized me with information, connections and helpful conversations. He would send me links to great articles or songs that he was digging (both worship and secular). Or songs he heard that he thought I could re-work to fit our context or that had a great style that I could try and emulate. He would suggest reaching out in friendship and coaching to other Worship Leaders across our network and city. Invite them to things like this (San Diego Church Planting), and to be a apart of his Pastoral network.

Church Planters: I know you can feel the need to have your hands firmly gripping everything. But don’t let that strangle your relationships with your co-laborers. It’ll kill you and your ministry. Trust is both earned and practiced. Offering healthy oversight is the goal, and giving chances and the benefit of the doubt is the best start. Rest, rest, rest in Christ’s promise to build His Church. You can’t have just a working relationship. It must be friendship. Friendship built on Christ the Solid Rock.

Language switch to direct both Pastors and Worship Leaders

“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” -Archilochus (Ancient Greek poet and mercenary)

INTRO: Have you ever visited a church with poorly executed musical worship? It’s rough. It’s hard to pay attention to the words and press into worship when Jimmy Worship Leader is hitting wrong notes, the drummer started in 6/8 instead of 3/4, the lead guitarist is trying to Shred His Name on High, and Carol over there is making up “harmonies” on the fly. A musicians first reaction isn’t, “I think I’ll stay here.” It’s more like, “How can I sneak out before anyone figures out I’m a musician.” You’re probably not gonna confidently walk up and throw your hat in the ring. Instead, you’ll quietly see yourself out and maybe compliment someone’s “tone” or “gear” if asked what you thought.

Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright.

Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre;
make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!

Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

Psalm 33:1-3

A) SKILL (for the sake of discipleship, multiplication, and transparency)
1) Discipleship

You need to know not only your music, but the Object of your worship. You need to be immersed in prayer, the Word, and worship. You need to know your theology and doctrine. This is crucial. Worship Leader or not, as a Christian, you should be preoccupied with knowing God. And not as some intellectual ascent or exercise, but as a sinner plucked the depths of Hell who can do nothing but bow at your Savior’s feet.

You need to become adept at identifying the music of your people in both timbre and content. This means becoming immersed in the theology and doxology of your church. Building a song list is both a direct and indirect tool of discipleship for your church AND developing leaders in your ministry. We must “lead skillfully” so that other may “Make a joyful noise.”

2) Multiplication
The goal of discipleship is multiplication. Skill, not just in execution of your craft, but in it’s communication. You, as an acting Pastor, need to be both teachable AND able to teach. You must be able to communicate the vision and values of your worship ministry AND practically coach people musically. “No, not that” is neither helpful or edifying. It means nothing other than “I don’t like it, so try out the other infinite amount of possibilities.”

When you’re able to communicate your values and grow them musically, you will raise up other leaders within your ministry who can disciple and train others, making it possible for your ministry to be a lot less “you” focused as well. Which takes us into our next point...

3) Transparency
You are not the object of worship, so get out of the way. The point of skillful worship leading is transparency. Skill to show skill... is not worship, it’s entertainment and we can get that anywhere. The purpose of leading worship skillfully is so that YOU disappear and Christ is illuminated. Regularly hitting bad notes and sour chords are a distraction and a legitimate stumbling block to worshiping fully for both you and your people. “We don't practice until we get it right practice until we can't get it wrong.”

And always remember: your “bad” worship has been perfected in the cross, but your “good” worship... is like filthy rags... but has also been perfected in the cross. Both need Jesus.

So what do we do? We get an...


Practical Music Lessons. If you’re going to lead and lead effectively, you need them. Regardless of your education and experience, you need them. You especially need them if you’re the best musician in your ministry. Humility is crucial for servant leadership, and when you’re already better than everyone in your little microcosm, it’s easy to grow in pride. You need to put yourself in a situation where you are the worst in the room, and that’s what lessons are great for.

Anecdote: I’ve been getting voice lessons on and off for five years now. And I’ve been publicly out-sung by 12 year olds. That was fun. I did a masterclass with my teacher’s teacher in a room full of people (mostly teenage girls with aspirations of Pop Glory).

And this guy destroyed me... kindly, but firmly. He destroyed my false confidence and self-adulation. He showed me (and the whole room) I had become lax in my technique, I was over analyzing and under-rehearsed. The guy literally had one hand on my stomach and the other on my forehead telling me (ironically) to relax. It was embarrassing.

It’s lessons like that that you don’t get when self-evaluating. I was used to hearing “you’ve got a cool voice” or “you can really belt it.” Even the other skilled vocalists in my church give me some “attaboys” on occasion. But not this guy. He reminded me that I need to progress. I need to be studious. I need to understand what the mistakes are in my field.

“An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.” – Niels Bohr (Nobel Prize winning Physicist)

It takes an enormous amount, an inhuman amount, of self-awareness to identify our own mistakes and blind spots. We need experts who’ve already made and corrected their mistakes to do that for us.

Pastors: make room in the budget if you can. Work with your guys to value education.

We also get some...

Hind-sight is 20/20, so it’s always wise to get regular advice from someone who’s been in ministry longer than you. For me, it’s been through peer groups and pastors. But I am in the process of getting an older Worship Leader to coach me in an official capacity. Being in regular conversation about how you can improve working both in and on your ministry is really vital to it’s health and growth. Coaches can offer a perspective that’s both longer and deeper than you may be able to see yourself. This doesn’t have to be from a big-shot worship leader, but that could be cool too. In the mean time, dig into your existing relationships with older and/or more experienced leaders who can evaluate your trajectory and offer practical advice for success and the avoidance of pitfalls.


Really quickly I’m gonna plug a few tools that can help in many ways. Every man loves his tools and I’m no different. This is “preferential” part of my talk. There two tools I find invaluable to doing what I do:

A) Planning Center Online

1) Pastors, think of your Logos software and how much joy it brings you. That’s how I feel about PCO. Though it’s not a bible-software, it’s the application that has saved me HOURS of work every week. Every week. Hours. Every week. It does a ton of things. I’m a huge fan and I only use 20% of it’s functions. It’s a Ferrari I drive around a parking lot. But it could be the answer to a lot of the strife in you and your Worship Leader’s life. It’s a central hub for your weekly service. Charts, mp3’s, videos, presentations, CCLI reporting, service order, scheduling, organizing, planning... it can help. It’s easy to use, and puts all the information you need to communicate in one place. And it’s not ANOTHER site you trying to get your people to use. It’s not another pseudo social network, it’s an Admin tool.

2) Worship Leaders: this thing is magic. There’s a very slight learning curve, but it’s worth it. Check this out, I can see what my friend’s are leading at their churches. In my years of leading, the source that yielded 80% of my new songs is this: other worship leaders. Link your accounts with people you trust and respect AS WELL AS leaders you may have just met. I can’t count how many leads it’s given me.

B) ProPresenter
1) Pastors, are you tired of the having slide issues during the songs and sermon? Worship Leaders, same question? Treat yourselves and get ProPresenter. It’s easy to use and more importantly, easy to train and delegate. Again, a Ferrari I drive around a parking lot. It can do everything you need and most things you could ever want.

2) Worship Leaders, this thing is amazing and you should try to work it into your 2017 budget. Check it out.

C) Books
I know how much you Preachers love books so, here you go. Oh and you love this: most of these books recommend other books in them. WHAT?! You’re welcome. Worship Leaders, do yourselves a favor and read these. There more for you anyways. They’re written by Worship Leaders. They’re compelling, informative, and challenging gold-mines.

“Worship Matters” - Bob Kauflin
“Worship in Spirit and Truth” - John Frame
“Doxology & Theology” - Matt Boswell