4 Powerful Steps To Leading Worship With Confidence



What is the key to leading worship with confidence?

Although it may seem obvious, leading worship requires the ability to stand up in front of a congregation with confidence – and to connect in a meaningful way with people who have come to trust our leadership.

However, confidence doesn’t always come naturally. How can we cultivate and maintain a strong center of self-trust as we lead people in worship?

1. Close The Door
2. Fasten Your Seatbelt
3. Say Yes To Leadership
4. Confidence Without Arrogance


Close the door.

Confidence as a worship leader begins when your door is shut, and you are experiencing rich, living, ongoing encounters with God in private.

The secret place is where God puts substance into a worship leader, and solidifies our identity first as a worshipper.

These private moments train us to hear God’s still small voice inviting us into our next steps of faith, while at the same time sharpening our awareness of our vocation, purpose, and meaning in the world.

If your confidence as a leader doesn’t begin with the door closed as a steady, practiced yielding to God’s detailed work in your heart pulses within, you will inevitably draw your confidence from the affirmation, appreciation, and expressed support of your community.

While those community gifts are designed to support our growing confidence, they provide a faulty foundation for a leader who desires spiritual substance at their core.

Confidence begins behind closed doors for the worship leader; never let anyone tell you otherwise.

Learn to love the secret place above the public platform. As your confidence is both firmed and formed in that one-on-one encounter, when there is no one else around to impress, you will find yourself having confidence when you lead.


Fasten your seatbelt.

Fasten your seatbelt to God’s love for you as His child each time before you go into public settings and interact with people as a spiritual leader.

I sometimes refer to this as the business card model. Everyone starts the day with their name on a business card. We write down the things that we do, the roles we fulfill, and what how we’re impacting people, all under our name.

We impress ourselves, and potentially others, with our performance-based identity scribed on that unseen (or seen) business card.

We write that we are worship leaders, we list our particular strengths, or we jot down any of the roles that fill our lives in any given season.

At the end of every day, however, this business card always gets handed back to God. He smiles, turns around, erases it all, and hands it back to us. The card now says your name and simply “son” or “daughter” beneath it.

Take confidence from being the beloved of God, His precious child – not in how other people are continually and erratically responding to you and your leadership.


Say yes to leadership. 

To those who are in their first decade of leading worship, I often say “Always say yes to leadership opportunities, as often as you can. In fact, smile and say yes at the same time.”

Why? When people give you opportunities to lead others, you are getting an opportunity to practice leading worship.

And with practice and repetition, navigating new situations and learning to connect with a wider variety of people in worship, comes growth.

When we’re on a stage or in a living room leading worship, each experience shapes and forms our worship leadership over time. We are cultivating our sensitivity as a musician, as a leader, and as a pastor.

We also grow as we experience God working in and through us, speaking to and through us, as we lead.

This is a great privilege. Over time, we become more relaxed as we step up to lead in an increasingly wider variety of settings, building confidence all along the way.


Pursue confidence without arrogance.

When I was first commissioned as a pastor, the leader passing on his role to me laid his hands on my shoulders and spoke these words into my soul: “Confidence without arrogance; humility without apology.”

As a worship leader, confidence without arrogance is crucial to effectively leading a congregation without getting distracted by either our fears or an overblown sense of self- importance.

Humility without apology is crucial to leading a congregation without getting distracted by either our own pride or people’s wide ranging opinions.

Your confidence and mine, as a worship leader, begins and ends in God. Remember that our goal is to be confident in God’s invitation, God’s love, and God’s provision.

Then, we build our skills on these sure foundations.

Our own abilities will fail us, but His love never will.


Step into your leadership role with confidence, taking the time to close the door and focus on what God is saying to you in the secret place.

You may get many things wrong as a worship leader – but you cannot get this wrong: you are loved by God, and your primary identity, no matter what shows up on your business card, is that you are His beloved child.

As you grow, say yes to opportunities around you to nurture and lead others other worship.

Say yes to God daily. Practice obedience to the leadings of the Spirit. And when you lead, lead to honor Jesus with your congregation – not for the attention or the applause that may or may not come your way.

And remember: Confidence without arrogance; humility without apology.



Just sign up for my email list, and receive a download of FREE worship team devotionals (and a few extras!).




Sheltering Mercy: Prayers Inspired by the Psalms

Sheltering Mercy, along with its companion volume, Endless Grace, helps us rediscover the rich treasures of the Psalms—through free-verse prayer renderings of their poems and hymns—as a guide to personal devotion and meditation.

The church has always used the Psalms as part of its prayer life, and they have inspired countless other prayers. This book contains 75 prayers drawn from Psalms 1-75, providing lyrical sketches of what authors Ryan Smith and Dan Wilt have seen, heard, and felt while sojourning in the Psalms. Each prayer is a response to the Psalms written in harmony with Scripture. These prayers help us quiet our hearts before God and welcome us into a safe place amid the storms of life.

This artful, poetic, and classic devotional book features compelling custom illustrations and foil-stamped hardcover binding, offering a fresh way to reflect on and pray the Psalms.