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Who Needs a Worship Leader?

Who needs a “worship leader?”
Seriously, it’s a fairly new concept.

Three Streams of the Church I have been part of:

Charismatic
– I was Assembly of God for eight years.
– Typically, charismatics show up to church with a readiness and desire to pour themselves into worship with their whole heart.
– The role of the worship leader is really a “lead worshiper” because the people are ready to join in – just show them which direction, what song, and how long.

Liturgical
– I spent thirteen years as an Episcopalian/Anglican.
– Typically, people who go to liturgical churches show up to do the “work of the people.” They want to say the “call and responses,” they want to chant, they want to say the creeds and prayers, and they want to sing with the choir and the organ, filling the beautiful cathedrals with their voices.
– A worship leader is usually not needed at all. A priest, an organ and maybe a choir, plus brass on Easter and they are good to go.

Missional
– For the past six years I have been the music director at CrossPoint Community Church.
– If a “missional” church is truly reaching the “unchurched,” then the people who show up don’t really want to do anything (at least at first).
– The congregation sees itself more as an audience, and must be guided to participate at every turn.
– The role of the worship leader is vital and has many layers
– The worship leader must:

  •  Be a great singer/musician (this is part of the attractional and missional model)
  •  Teach the people about worship and praise (because they don’t know)
  •  Encourage the people to join in (Because they are not comfortable with the idea)

Keep in mind that any great singer/musician could stand up on stage and perform great music. Even worship songs. It takes a person who is called and led by the Holy Spirit to truly lead worship.

Hipster fashion sensibilities are optional.

P.S. I didn’t mean any offense to any kinds of churches. Sorry if it came off that way. I think the more “mission oriented” the church culture is the more that it needs someone to lead the people who don’t know their way. And the more “Charismatic” a church is the more inclined the congregation is to jump in. And, as many of you know, I love high liturgical worship. I’m not discounting the role of a music minister or song leader. I’m playing with the idea of a “Worship” leader and pointing out the challenges that I came to face as a minister in a missional/attractional/seeker/whateveryouwanttocallit church.