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Show notes: Are You Called To Be A Worship Leader?
Knowing you’re called to be a worship leader isn’t hard. Here’s the answer: you are.
Everyone is called to be a worship leader of some kind. Psalm 150 makes that clear. Verse 6 says (NIV) “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” That means whatever you do, you should cause others to say “Wow God is really awesome. I can tell because of what that person is doing.”
You can be a worship leader by being a youth leader, volunteering in your church’s kids ministry, or even vacuuming the sanctuary after service.
But you’re probably wanting to know if you’re called to be a worship leader in the musical get-up-in-front-and-sing type of sense. Yes, that’s another way to be a worship leader, and what people typically think of when they wonder if they are “meant to be” one.
Let’s talk about that specific way to be a worship leader.
>> Ready to launch your worship leading journey? Get the book “Learn To Lead Worship In 14 Days” here.
Does It Matter If I’m Called To Be A Worship Leader?
I decided to start the Worship Leader 101 Podcast covering this topic, since it’s that important.
If you’re not called, no amount of training or knowledge will make you a musical worship leader. You might knock on doors — asking your pastor or group leader to lead worship or trying to start a worship band — but it just won’t become a long-lasting thing that you do.
And that’s okay. God has called us to different things and directs our steps where He wants. If you are called to be a speaking pastor, but keep pursuing worship leading, you are doing a disservice to the Kingdom of God. For whatever reason, God wants you in another role.
So, we’ve established that it’s important to know you’re called to lead worship, but how do you do that?
Talent Is Different Than Calling
Keep in mind that calling is different than natural ability.
Some people are incredibly talented musically, but aren’t meant to be worship leaders. They might end up as record producers or session musicians in Nashville.
Others are not all that musically talented, but end up leading worship as a volunteer or even as a career. Maybe they have enough musical ability to get the job done, but their real talent is shepherding God’s people and encouraging a congregation from the stage.
How To Know If You’re Called
There may be no 100% sure way to know if you’re called to be a worship leader at this point in time. But following are some indications you might be.
1. God will start opening up doors for you.
As mentioned, God opens doors in the direction he wants you to go. If you’re called to be a worship leader, everywhere you go, people will ask you to lead worship.
When you go to a new youth group, join a college group, or attend a new church, people in leadership will find out you can lead worship. Soon you’ll be on a worship team or even leading one.
Keep in mind that it’s not your job to “make it happen.” Even though I’ve been leading worship for more than 20 years, I don’t think I have ever intentionally approached a pastor or leader and asked to lead worship. Leaders gravitated to me and asked if I could. This is a sign of true calling.
In high school youth group, a missions organization called Youth With A Mission (YWAM), in college, and now my church — I’ve never intentionally sought out a worship leader position.
I just showed up. If you’re called, just be available. God will do the rest.
2. You imagine yourself on stage, playing music
Or, you’ve always wanted to write songs or travel the world with your music. You’ve imagined yourself in some sort of upfront, musical role since you were a kid.
Don’t discount these God-given desires. Some people might tell you that it’s your own pride that is driving you to be up in front of people playing music. I would argue that it’s God’s calling on your life trying to get your attention.
These natural desires can go haywire. In some cases, people are meant to be worship leaders but are enticed by the temporary glory and indulgence of being a star in the music scene. (FYI being a worship leader is a much more viable and sustainable career path). You can start chasing your own agenda as your music “career” develops, if you’re not careful.
But these desires could be God’s way of getting you to pursue exactly what he wants you to do.
If you want to learn everything you need to know about starting to lead worship, check out my book, “Learn to Lead Worship in 14 Days.” It will guide you through the process of working up to your first worship session even if you’ve never led worship before. And the best part is that it’s going to take you 14 days to do it.
Or, if you lead a worship ministry and you’re looking for a how-to guide to hand every new worship leader, this book is for you.
>> Click here for this valuable resource.
3. You’re reading this article and listening to the podcast
If you wanted to be an astronaut, pro basketballer, or firefighter, you’d probably be searching for podcasts and articles about those subjects.
But you’re not. You’re reading this article and might check out the Worship Leader 101 Podcast so you can take the next step in your calling.
Keep pursuing training, mentorship, and knowledge. Be a student of worship. Each piece of wisdom will push you deeper into your calling. Seek out other worship podcasts, as well. In my podcast I mention that I listen to a number of podcasts, which I’ve listed below:
Podcasts are a great way to learn while you’re driving, on the bus, exercising, or doing chores around the house.
4. You can’t turn off music awards shows when you happen upon one on TV
You’ve done this. You’re switching through channels and you see a music awards show. A popular artist is performing. You’re just attracted to the performance, music, lighting — everything.
Guess what. These mega-performances are just a pale reflection of the worship that will happen in heaven.
You might be attracted to big performances because you want to do the same thing, only for God.
5. You enjoy digging into God’s Word
Knowing God’s word is important as a worship leader. If you like to study the Bible, it could be an indicator that you’re called.
Being a worship leader means you will probably have the second biggest influence on the congregation or group you’re leading, after the pastor. You choose the songs that they will be singing all week. That’s an important responsibility.
This means, you want to know God’s Word and make sure you’re singing theologically correct songs.
Plus, God’s Word is mysterious. What was going on with the tower of Babel, anyway? As a worship leader, you will be communicating God’s Word through a mystery: music.
Music is a mysterious medium. Why do some notes and chords sound good together and others don’t? Why do we like 4/4 time and 6/8 time, but time signatures like 7/4 are less common (although very cool if you can pull them off)? It’s all a mystery.
The Bottom Line
We looked at the 5 ways to know you’re called to be a worship leader.
- God will start opening up doors for you.
- You often imagine yourself on stage doing music or leading worship
- You are seeking out worship wisdom, like this article and podcast
- You are attracted to music awards shows and arts performances of all types
- You enjoy God’s Word
Learn To Lead Worship
Are you looking for a resource that will help you get started leading worship or improving your skills?
Check out the book “Learn To Lead Worship In 14 Days.” It’s a step-by-step, day-by-day handbook that can launch your worship leading journey in as little as two weeks.
I’m 13, and I’ve been feeling incredibly pulled to worship music for the past year (or more), and I’m not sure if I have this as a calling. I know it’s a little early to know my calling for sure. Currently, I help set up for chapel in school every Wednesday morning, and I feel incredible joy doing so all the time. I have talent in music, and love reading the bible, something almost everyone else my age isn’t interested in. I long to play the guitar, play the drums, or the piano, which I know how to play, onstage, and to be in small groups of people collectively worshipping through music. I also feel the need to volunteer at church all the time, although I am not able to. Sometimes, if I let myself, a worship song can make me cry because of how beautiful it is. I’m wondering about what the next step I should take is.
I seem to line up with 4 of the 5 ways to know if I’m called to be a worship leader.
I don’t seem to have many opportunities to serve right now, but that can change. I also feel the need to be closer to God, but I don’t know how, other than reading my bible.
Another thing about me is that I really enjoy being in the company of other people, even if there is no contact between us.
Thanks for this article.
Thanks Georgia. Serve in any way possible at the church, even if it’s not music related. You would be surprised at what you get invited to do when you are faithful in behind-the-scenes service. I can’t wait to see what God does through you.
I have been on a vocals team in our church for 2 years now. I love singing for the Lord. When I’m at home, I sing in front of the mirror and I imagined worhsip leading in front of people. A couple of months ago, one of the Worship Leaders at church asked me if I wanted to be a worship leader and of course I was happy because that was really my desire so I said yes! I recently had my very first experience as a worship leader. But after that, I felt so much weight on my shoulder. I didnt realize it was a big responsibility. Youre not just singing on stage leading the people, but youre also leading the band, the technical team, you have to organize the rehearsals and arrangements of the songs. I was so down, I felt like my passion and excitement to sing disappeared. It made me question do I really have the gift of worship leading. I have been praying and asking the Lord, I have been searching for podcasts and sermons about it. I need some Godly advice on this.
Don’t get overwhelmed. The enemy would like you to get overwhelmed and quit. It’s all a process. After a year or two of leading worship, much of this will seem like second nature. You just have to be consistent and keep going.
I know I’m being called to lead worship at church, but the other day I realized that I’d always taken for granted that this would be in a job way. What if God’s calling me to lead worship as a volunteer and he has a different job planned for me? I Will follow wherever he wants me to go but how do I know if it’s volunteering or a career?
Hi Faith, listen to the podcast that’s associated with this post. I talk about, as a volunteer worship leader, you are following a more biblical model than a paid/vocational worship leader. Paul knew how to make tents. That doesn’t mean his ministry was less effective. In fact, the opposite. He wasn’t a burden to any church he ministered in. I was a volunteer worship leader for 20 years, and still don’t make any money leading worship. But I built immensely valuable skills in the business world. Now, I’m a tithing member of my church, and help with worship. Most churches don’t have the budget to pay a worship leader, so you are a much bigger asset to a church as a volunteer than a paid worship leader.
So I approached the worship leaders at church and said I’d like to join. They redirected me to the one in charge, the Pastors son. I approached him for a meeting and said the same thing. This is nearing the end of the year. He said to see him again in early Jan as they are restructuring the team for services. On Sunday, (Jan 2, 2022), I approached him again for a verdict. He then said he’ll have a talk with the worship leaders (there’s 3 of them) and now I’m confused.
Now I’m not looking to be a worship leader, just a BV. There are alot of lady singers up there and only 3 guys. You’d think that having another guy up there would be great. One of the girls said “we need more guys” – but now.. I’m beginning to think maybe they don’t want me or maybe I’m not a good enough singer. I feel discouraged…
I used to play bass back in 2009 but if I’m going to be honest, I’ve always wanted to sing. But an incident from my teen years (1993) destroyed my heart when the Pastor at the time made a mockery of me singing up front cos I had a missing tooth from a hydro slide accident. His words and the laughing of the congregation cut me deep and I never touched the mic ever again until 2002. Even then I already formed in my mind that I wasn’t good enough and switched to playing bass but never liked it. There were multiple times I wanted to ask if I could be a BV for harmonies but the fear was too much.
Then in October 2021, I approached the team and registered my interest. All the points you laid out: are the exact things in my heart. I often see myself up there worshipping God with my voice, there’s nothing more I want to do than being of service to Him on the frontlines. I’ve freed up my time to serve in the church. God has given me the ability to hear sounds, and words and produce music. In 3 months, I’ve written 7 worship songs and one praise song but scared to make recordings with me singing in them, to pass onto the team.
My singing coaches say I have a massive range from c1-c5 and think I should sing power songs (belting) than mellow tones. I took up lessons cos I wanted to get better with the techniques involved cos I don’t know anything. I play by ear and I can harmonise anything I hear. I write songs based on my mellow tone cos I love writing worship music. Most of the songs at church are crazy high. So I write my own key as If I was going to worship lead.
I spend more time in the word that working on the giftings though so I’m super aware where my time is spent and how much of it is spent.
But now I’m stumped and feel like I’m forcing it on them to let me. I really want to and know this is a calling for me.
I’m really sorry for that experience in your teen years. It’s hard enough to get up there, but then to have someone publicly embarrass you is unacceptable. Sounds like your church does not want you to join for whatever reason. Honestly I would start a TikTok or Instagram channel and record a song (original or cover) with someone playing guitar or keys for you. It might help the worship leaders at your church to see videos of you singing. And if not, you’d be surprised who finds you if you just start worshiping on social media. I would definitely like to hear your songs and voice if you did that.
Hi, I just am felling and working to the calling of God. Lately am putting my hands to work hardly to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I dowloaded your music to put in my web radio. Located in Alto Jequitiba, MG, Brazil.
Hope I can spread The Gospel around the world!
Thank You for make it available for free!
Many thanks for your article, I’m currently 41yrs and I’ve always had a desire to lead worship. I have been in worship teams for the last 20yrs but my opportunity or chance hasn’t come to pass. Im feeling now I’m a little bit old to have that door open. I can count the number of times I’ve led worship like 4 to 5 time in my time span. Currently i do back up singing. Im just wondering whether i Could be chasing the wrong calling?
It’s hard for me to answer. Sometimes God shuts a door and we think we should be doing something but really he’s put us right where he wants us. However, you can try to lead worship off the main stage. For the kids, youth group, etc. There are always plenty of opportunities.
Thank you for “WAYS TO KNOW YOU’RE CALLED TO BE A WORSHIP LEADER (PODCAST EPISODE 1) I appreciate you making this available for hungry people like me! God bless you Tim.