In his book, Created for Worship: From Genesis to Revelation to You, Noel Due comments on the role of the worship leader in the local church:
“One thing that follows from this is that the leading of worship in the public assembly must be seen as a facet of the pastoral care of the congregation. Its spiritual health is both measured by and also expressed in its worship. For this reason the whole idea of a ‘worship leader’ who is a non-elder of the congregation (or at least directly accountable to the eldership) must be held up to question. Through the public assembly of God’s people for worship, His name is glorified and His people edified, for their blessing and joy. The task of leading worship, then, is far greater than simply leading praise. It is, given the fullest sense of the word ‘worship’, a leading into the relational unity and cruciform life that brings glory to God.” (234-235)
I believe Noel Due is on target in stating that worship leading really is a subset of pastoral care in the church. If I were choosing a person to lead the musical portion of the worship service, I would want that person to be thoroughly grounded in the Scriptures. It is through his understanding of the Word of God that this worship leader would be choosing songs, speaking in the service and leading the Body of Christ in worship.
There has been a trend of hiring a worship leader who has ‘charisma’ on the platform and intuitive musical skills but has limited theological training. The church needs to look beyond this type of leader to one who is both called to ministry and has received training in theology and ministry.
This is exactly what we are trying to facilitate both at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (www.sbts.edu) and Boyce College (www.boycecollege.com) in Louisville, Kentucky. We are equipping called ministers with theological and ministry skills along with music skills. We want to prepare worship leaders who see themselves first as ministers of the Gospel.
A good book on Biblical theology of worship is Created for Worship by Noel Due, Mentor Publishers, 2005, ISBN 1-84550-026-1.
See another quote from this book: http://biblicalworship.com/?p=78