I had a conversation with a young worship leader a while back. We were discussing approaches to involving singers and instrumentalists in the Sunday morning worship service. I was advocating for involving as many people as possible in the worship ministry and he thought that we should only use a few people. He expressed that once a worship leader has found several good instrumentalists and singers then he should only work with that group week in and week out. Although this is probably the easier route to guarantee a cohesive group week to week, I actually think this is not a biblical approach.
As ministers we are called to “equip the saints” (Ephesians 4: 11-16). A worship leader can equip in several ways:
1. Modeling Christ in our words, actions and attitudes,
2. Selecting songs for the congregation that will help them to mature in their faith,
3. Ministering to singers and instrumentalists who work with us each week preparing worship music,
4. Training others to participate on a worship team, and
5. Training new worship leaders.
I believe that a large part of a worship leader’s work is to be training others to do ministry. Our influence in the congregation grows proportionately to the number of people involved in our worship ministry. If we only use the same 7 people every week in worship leadership, we are equipping 7 people for ministry. (That is if we are actually taking the time to teach and mentor this team of worship leaders). What if we had rotating teams of instrumentalists and singers who were involved in our worship ministry? Instead of having 7 people involved, we would have the potential of many more people involved.
I heard a worship leader of a growing church here in Louisville share that they have auditions several times a year for instrumentalists and singers who would like to be involved in their worship ministry. They have a large pool of church members who regularly participate in the weekly worship services. This church is constantly adding to their worship ministry.
Worship leader if you are not doing this, how are you equipping your church in the area of worship leadership? What about the next generations of worship leaders in your church? Do you have a plan to equip the children and teens of your church spiritually and musically to assist in worship leadership? Equipping others is a calling that ministers of the Gospel must take seriously. What happens in your worship ministry in 5 years or 10 years or 20 years will depend on your training efforts today.
In God’s Kingdom less is not more. More is more. We want to influence as many people for the Gospel as possible and equip them to be effective worship leaders. Involving more people in your ministry is more complicated than using the same worship team each week. It requires forethought, good communication, pastoral care and sensitivity. Let me encourage you to adopt a plan to be on an equipping journey in your church. Don’t do the ministry for the people, equip them to do the ministry.