“Generation after generation stands in awe of Your work;
each one tells stories of Your mighty acts.” Psalm 145:4 (The Message)
Worship leaders generally struggle with the style of worship. Choice of music. Expectations of the congregation. There is, however, an unhealthy reliance on these ideas. I recently heard a woman say that we focus too much on whether or not the church fits our needs. But the true question is: are we for the church?
As a worship leader, it is often difficult to find songs that fit the style of worship, or the congregation sitting in the pews. There are cases in which a dying or struggling church needs a change, but if that is not the case, here are some questions you should ask yourself:
What generation(s) participate(s) in your congregation?
What song choice would fit all of these generations?
It is difficult to handle the multi-generational aspect of church. While it is biblical, there is such a thing as casting too wide of a net, which risks the quality of the music.
Use one band/ leader; two at the most. There could also be a choir and an ensemble, but it could be a good idea to present these every now and then. This way, the multi-generation aspect is still revered, but doesn’t seem forced.
Hymns: hymns are respected by all generations (even college students).
The book of Revelation tells us that we will use old and new songs (Rev.15:2-3; 5:9). You should use songs that are fast-paced, but easy to sing along with. You can introduce the fast songs during special music or over the speakers as people are entering/leaving the sanctuary. Also, use songs that are reflective and high quality (Hillsong, Bethel, Jesus Culture, etc).
Slowly introduce new songs, so the congregation (especially older generations) can grow comfortable with the song choice.
Read the congregation. Look into their eyes! – We shouldn’t rely on the music aspect of worship too heavily, but the ability to read the congregation makes for a worship leader who is doing their job.
Model authentic, transparent worship. I have found that this can knock down barriers that may come with a difficulty to connect with the music. It brings everyone together, fixing their eyes on Jesus rather than each other (or even the worship leader).
A worship leader’s job is to direct the congregation to the Almighty Savior. They are our flock, too. The question is not how can the congregation fit my needs. The question is: am I serving the congregation, or serving myself?
Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.