Transforming Church Team Blog
resourcing leaders…reenvisioning the future

Worship Leadership: 5 Stages – stage 1

This will be a 5 part series on the stages of worship leadership…emphasis on leadership.  Each stage represents a distinct level of knowledge, philosophy, attitude and service. Each stage is manifest in distinct ways and with measurable results.  At the end of the series, you will be invited to take a self assessment survey that will help you determine your own leadership stage.

I’ll warn you up front that you may become uncomfortable and even discouraged as you read. However, let me encourage you by saying that while the goal is stage 5 leadership, no one starts there. God has placed within you a passion to worship, to lead others to His throne and to provide new perspectives as you create an atmosphere focusing our hearts and minds on the face and character of God. This is a high calling requiring your own strength of character and convictions. The question is not God’s calling on your life, but rather your ability to honestly assess yourself and your willingness to navigate the changes necessary to carry out that calling well.

Stage 1: Individual Talent

Let’s face it, we’re generally among the best musicians in our churches.  Or, we’re among the best musicians in the stack of resumes and sample CD’s and DVD’s on some search committees desk. I mean c’mon, a worship leader who can’t sing? Who wants that? It’s like the “Charley-in-the-box” on Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. Kids want to play with a Jack-in-the-box. No one wants to play with a Charley-in-the-box. The truth is that our talent has always gotten us in the door and we have learned well to exploit this advantage.

It is not a stretch then when we realize that our best contribution to the overall church ministry will come in the form of our musical talent and skills.  We are hired, in large part, to keep every constituency  in the church satisfied musically…and we know it. We talk about worship a lot, but somewhere deep inside we understand that these conversations are really about the quality of our music. We spend the vast majority of our time trying to be more and more creative in our presentation. Before too terribly long,  we begin to sense the need for something more. That sense is usually born from the questions and comments of others in the congregation and at the subtle yet persistent chiding of the pastor that worship seems stale lately.

We have run out of new ideas and we realize our talent alone will only take us so far. All the while, a conflict within us is raging. “This is supposed to be about worship and I’m stressed out about music”, we say to ourselves. “I can’t do any more than I’m doing now.” We spend a few conscious moments reflecting on the conflict. And then, with a stroke of genius, we have the solution…more talent. The truth is that the pastor has been suggesting this for a while, but we have been reluctant to go there because it means more work than we are doing now, and we can’t imagine how we’ll find the time and energies. But, because we live with the reality that our job is contingent on keeping everyone engaged, interested and satisfied, we acquiesce to the request. With this simple step, we move to stage 2.


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