This past Sunday in our prayer time before church, I was asked the question, “As a worship leader, what do you look for in a given service to know you’re being effective?” So I thought I’d answer that question here on the blog…
I’ve always said, the whole point of what I do as a worship leader is the help create an atmosphere where people can worship God, and have a personal encounter with the One, True, Living God. But this question brings up a valid point, how do we measure or quantify if we are being effective as worship leaders?
I used to base the answer to this question on looking out into the congregation and observing how many people were being apparent in their response in our worship times. How many were lifting their hands, singing, clapping, standing. But I found that I always seemed to notice all the ones who were not being as apparent in their worship. Those who were not raising their hands, not singing, not clapping, sitting instead of standing…or worse yet, standing with their arms folded in defiance.
I would allow myself to get caught up in those people and determine that we were not being as effective at leading people into worship as I’d hoped we would be. After all, my desire was, and is, to see everyone participating in worship and not just watching a performance from those on stage.
Then one day, one of my vocalists said something that really helped. She suggested that I STOP focusing on those who, in my opinion, were NOT worshipping and simply focus my eyes on those who ARE worshipping. In truth, this really helped me personally as a worship leader, I walked of the stage way more often feeling as though we had indeed accomplished a successful and effective worship encounter.
I also came to a realization that you cannot always judge a book (or a worshipper) by it’s cover. I’ve had conversations with people who were very outward and apparent in their worship who would say things like, “Man I really got a lot out of worship today, it was awesome.” On the contrary, I’ve had conversations with people who were not outward or apparent in their worship, maybe they even stood with their arms folded, their lips not moving, no expression of joy upon the face say things like, “Today as we worshipped, I felt God, I was moved by His power and presence.”
Which one of the two people above has a better understanding of what worship is really all about???
I’ve learned another trick in helping me to gauge if I’m being effective as a worship leader…I can’t allow myself to “gauge” that off of the response of people in the audience. I’m not God, I have no way of knowing whether a person is truly worshipping…just by their outward appearance.
Here is what I am now using as my guide, my measuring stick to my effectiveness as a worship leader. I no longer look outward. I look inward. Am I worshipping God in spirit and truth? Am I just singing a melody? Am I just playing black dots on a page that make up musical notes, melodies, counter melodies? Or am I actually allowing the lyrics to penetrate my heart, am I singing the words as an offering to the King, the Savior of the world, the Great I Am?
I am learning that my effectiveness has absolutely nothing to do with others around me, but has everything to do with me, myself and I.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t care about how people are responding in our worship services, I absolutely do – I am just learning that when I care a LOT MORE about how I AM responding in worship, the rest begins to fall into the place where it should be.
How about you, how do you gauge if you’re being effective in what you’re doing for God?