Ask Rick Muchow - How to Prepare to be a worship leader
QUESTION: “Our daughter is currently a lead/backup singer in our church's Praise Band. She is sensing that God may be calling her to become a worship leader (she's 22). What is the best way for our daughter to prepare herself as a worship leader . . . are there conferences and other resources that she could be utilizing now that would assist her preparation? She works full-time, so other than conferences, any resource would have to be a 'distance learning' option.”
- From Roger Scott serving in Winthrop Harbor, IL
This is a great question, but I think there is another question to ask first. That question is can your daughter do anything else with her life, or must she be a worship leader? It’s a question of S.H.A.P.E. (Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, Experiences.) Only the last four of these can be developed. The spiritual gift here is prophecy/exhortation, and this must be present. Music is an ability that can be developed. If her heart/passion is strong, she may want to sell all she has to buy this pearl of great price and become a lead worshipper.
Pastor Rick Warren says that leaders are learners. As soon as a leader stops learning, they have in effect stopped leading. A worship leader needs to consistently study worship, pursue experiences in leading worship and most of all, BE a devoted worshipper.
Your second service sounds like a good opportunity to learn. In one sense, that’s what I did as I was learning. I learned as I led.
She also may want to apply for an internship where she could learn in 2 years what she might pick up by trial and error over 10 years. Many churches have internships like this, including Saddleback. (For information about Saddleback’s Magnification Ministry Internship Program, contact Justin Adams via email at email@example.com.)
There are many ongoing resources available that deal with both the theology and the practice of worship. The list below contains a few immediate suggestions and is by no means exhaustive:
Your local community:
Attend other churches and local worship events to watch and examine.
Worship! Magazine (http://www.worshipmag.com)
Worship Leader (http://www.worshipleader.com)
Christian Musician (http://www.christianmusician.com)
Heart of the Artist by Rory Noland (http://www.willowcreek.com)
Unquenchable Worshipper by Matt Redman (http://www.regalbooks.com)
The Air I Breathe by Louie Giglio (http://www.multnomahbooks.com)
Search for them at your favorite store/site as well.
Purpose Driven Worship Conference (http://www.purposedriven.com)
Christian Musician Summit (http://www.christianmusiciansummit.com)
Soul Survivor (http://www.soulsurvivor.com)
Worship Together (http://www.worshiptogether.com)
Online Seminary Classes:
Liberty University (http://www.liberty.edu)
Dallas Baptist University (http://www.dbu.edu)
A worship leader starts from their S.H.A.P.E. and through consistent pursuit and commitment develops a personal life of increasing depth of worship from which they are able to lead and model worship for the body of Christ.
Rick Muchow is the Pastor of Worship at Saddleback Church and for Rick Warren's Purpose-Driven network. He has been serving faithfully at Saddleback for 21 years and oversees the Worship Arts ministry which consists of the Creative Arts, Technical Arts and Worship Leadership Teams at Saddleback Church. Rick also serves as one of 7 Elders which serve the ministry at Saddleback. Rick has recorded 11 albums and has 84 songs registered with CCLI. Rick is the author of The Worship Answer Book published by Thomas Nelson and is a Contributing Editor for Christianity Today’s Leadership Journal. Rick’s worship recordings and resources including the Purpose-Driven© Life resources, are available at EncouragingMusic.com (http://www.encouragingmusic.com.)
Scott A. Shuford is the President of Creator Worship, part of Creator Leadership Network, and the CEO of FrontGate Media, the largest culture-engaged media group in the Christian market (http://www.FrontGateMedia.com.) He is a frequent speaker on marketing for musicians and worship at the NAMM Show and Christian Musician Summits, and is a regular columnist for Worship Musician! magazine.