There are several things I look for in a worship team member, with pitch and personality being the two main things to get them through the door. But as I continue to lead my worship team I’ve come to realize that there is one attribute above all else that separates a singer from a worship leader. Sure they can sing it, but can they proclaim it?
Every day I spend time in my office watching worship services from other churches and scanning YouTube for different ways to perform old songs, or just to help spark an idea that may lead to something creative we might attempt musically. I’m continually amazed at the number of great singers and worship teams there are in our country. But mostly I’m seeing beautiful people with pretty voices singing nice words. Those few that stand out to me are those that proclaim the goodness of God through their music. There is a marked difference between the two.
One who proclaims is one who demands the attention of those within earshot. I think of John the Baptist – a voice crying out in the wilderness, preparing the way for Jesus! A mere singer is one who pleases the ear but doesn’t move anyone to action. As I work with my singers I continually remind them that they have a message that needs to be heard, that the people in the room need to pay attention to what God wants to say to them through us. A worship leader should feel a sense of urgency to convey the message that his/her song embodies.
Take time this week to read through the lyrics of the song you are leading and proclaim that message to your congregation. Spend some time listening to Kim Walker-Smith and Chris Quilala of Jesus Culture and pick up on their passion. Watch a video of Kari Jobe and notice how sincere she is when she sings. Pick any one of the Hillsong leaders – they all get it! And dig deep within yourself and find out why God has put you in the position of “worship leader”, then get out there and proclaim the great news of salvation and redemption through Christ!