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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.
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.
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.