What do you think of when you hear the phrase high impact? Maybe a really intense workout or an extreme collision? I’m guessing worship isn’t what pops into your mind first…
Simply put, high impact worship makes a difference in people’s lives – not just the lives of a congregation, but also the people outside of the congregation, in the community and the region. High impact worship is not a musical experience at all, rather a full confrontation of ourselves before the mirror of God’s word, penetrating us through and through until it hurts and we realize the truth. Just like the movie The Matrix taught us, what we think to be truth is not truth at all! Wayne A. Grudem said it best, “Even a brief reflection on the complexity, diversity, and beauty in creation should cause us to praise God for his power, wisdom, and understanding.”
I recently heard an interview with a worship leader who said, “Praise is what we do. Worship is what we live.” This was like a refreshing glass of old southern sweet tea! Although the New Testament may not name the role “worship leader” as one of Christ’s gifts for the edification of the church, leading people in worship certainly helps equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Ephesians 4:11-12). If I am to lead, I must lead by example; and my life, therefore, must exemplify that of the true worshiper.
As with all leaders in the body of Christ, it must first be about spiritual leadership. I must be the first to bow before God in humility and obedience. Just as the high priest had to sacrifice for his own sins first, so must the worship leader ensure they have scraped away the hardness from their heart before they can begin to lead others. It is the primary duty of a worship leader, therefore, to be aligned with God’s will and to be humble before the great and awesome God. That being said, we the worship leaders are called to a sacrificial life no different than our senior pastors.
One of the points in the 2021 EFCA East Leadership Conference touched on developing loving relationships within the church and the community. This entails having pastoral relationships with people. It is vitally important to build and guard our relationships with our senior pastors and share the ups and the downs of ministry together. Doing this builds a foundation of trust, respect and love for each other. These things become the building blocks for some of the most important elements that make a great worship leader.
Here are three vital elements that make a great high impact worship leader.
1. CREDIBILITY IN WORSHIP TO GOD
When God’s people gather around his Word, God is present and works in the hearts of his people. This is a result of God’s own faithfulness and graciousness. It is his own choosing. It has nothing to do with our actions. Our responsibility is to stand blameless before the Lord and usher his people to his saving knowledge through the tools he’s given us in music.
2. CONSISTENCY IN RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
Our motivation for gathering around God’s Word should be to honor God and to do his will. It should not be in hope of experiencing a spiritual high or taking something home with us—a blessing or some other benefit. God may bless us but that should not be our reason for gathering. Our attitude should be that of the child Samuel, “Here, I am, Lord” (1 Samuel 3:4).
3. COMMUNICATION IN PROPHETIC WORSHIP TO GOD
When we respect God’s sovereignty and seek the Giver and not the gifts, amazing things happen. Our whole relationship with God is changed. This change is reflected in our lives and impacts the lives of those around us. He Speaks to us and we become children who seek the revealed truth of the father. We are unworthy cups used in a worthy and Holy purpose. Our mess becomes His message.
Being called to a life of worship for our creator is not an easy one to flesh out but it is simple! We must always operate under the lens of Romans 12:1, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”