He must increase, but I must decrease. – John 3:30 (NASB)
"Part of your job is to be invisible." I tell that to our worship teams from time to time. Our role as worship leaders and band members is to make God more visible and ourselves less.
How is it that we can be an invisible worship leader? Hmm. Let’s have some fun. Here are my top 10 ways to be a VISIBLE worship leader:
- Use many solos. I have to watch this. I am a sucker for electric solos. I was watching Clapton last night just ripping it up (like always). I could listen to a guitar solo for a looooooong time. I could pray and worship to it. Most cannot. When we rip a solo in a song on into or ending, I am very careful. If it calls too much attention to the man with the axe, it calls attention away from God.
- Frown. People will look at you. You are on stage. You are facing them. You are holding an instrument. It makes noise. When people look at you leading worship (which is natural) a smile can move the attention from you and to the object of your smile. If you’re happy and you know it, tell your face.
- When you are not playing, stick your hands in your pockets and don’t move. Just last Sunday I saw Michael, our electric player for the evening, with hands stretched wide, eyes closed and looking up. He was visibly invisible.
- Give instructions before each song. Sometimes I hear leaders say "This song is about blah, blah, blah and it really means a lot because." I find myself wanting to stand up and scream "Shut up! Shut! Up! Lead us in worship." But then I would become visible, and embarrassed.
- Act bored. If you don’t enjoy what you are doing, it will show. The best worship leaders convey that the only place they want to be at that moment is where they are. Be present.
- Play poorly. If it all falls apart and is second rate, you will become visible in a hurry. Play skillfully or not at all.
- Shake your money maker. Too much movement on stage and people will be drawn to your moves. I have to watch this one. I can get pretty charged up and I don’t mean to brag but I have been known to cut a little rug. Yea, like Napoleon Dynamite, I got skills. Note: if you know me, you know this is so untrue.
- Be tied to your music. I stink at this. The more I am tied to my music, the more I have to direct my attention and energy there.
- Dress like a rock star. I’m all cool with looking your best, but let’s be modest. If your clothes get more attention than your God, we gots issues. I will quote one of our drummers, Chris Austin, when I say "Ladies, don’t cause a brotha to stumble."
- Give too many instructions. A worship leader needs to be a gentle leader. I have been in sessions where leaders say things like "Everybody raise your hands." "Everybody dance around." "Lift your eyes up to the heavens." "Stand up, sit down, turn around, praise my Lord." There is a place for direction but too much and it is a giant Simon Says session where everyone is looking at you for the next command.
Simon says "drop in for the next article as we explore another worship leading essential." Keep reading. You are out. I didn’t say "Simon says." Geeze.
Check out what my new friend, Eric Herron has to say about being an Invisible Worship Leader here: