Great Worship Leaders: Consistency

This is the first of a 7 part series that inaugurates our new Essentials In Worship Leading Course.

Dan Wilt, M.Min.
Learning Community Director

Another call has come in. “We’re looking for a worship leader; can you help us?” Often, the pastor calling is looking for someone with a defined skillset, a refined character and an inclined heart toward transplanting to their church location. Most times, the request is coupled with a caveat, that the pay is minimal or non-existent, the worship leader must be willing to move to their area, find a job, and voluntarily lead worship. However, at other times, the church is prepared to pay someone, either part-time or full-time, to be their worship pastor. In these cases, my list becomes shorter, and I look for the qualities and experience that mark those I consider to be “Great Worship Leaders.”

As a trainer of new worship leaders, I make it my goal to reinforce the key skill-set and essential soul-set necessary for a worship leader to be a prime candidate mentioned in one of these two types of phone calls. Whether a wild, postmodern church experiment is on the other line, or whether it is an established congregation, there are certain qualities that run like a thread through the lives of consistently effective and authoritative worship leaders. Here are a few thoughts from partnering with these worship leaders in interdenominational, intergenerational and international settings.

Great Worship Leaders…are consistent.

Anyone can lead a great worship moment every once in awhile. The strongest worship leaders have a knack for consistently leading worship, in small groups, large groups, conferences, etc., in an effective and meaningful way.

Great worship leaders have learned how to build a worship set in a consistent and systematic way, without feeling like they’re quenching the Spirit of God if they prepare for spontaneity.

Great worship leaders are not afraid to do 6 or 7 songs over a half an hour, instead of stretching out 4 or 5. In other words, they know how to start and finish songs with confidence, and how to linger if the moment calls for it.

Great worship leaders know how to make the lion’s share of a set out of songs that are fresh yet familiar, God-centered and easily sung by all age groups.

Great worship leaders know how to finish a song without feeling a need to meander, and how to start another song with confidence.

Great worship leaders know how to gracefully transition between songs in a set, without jarring the congregation musically.

Great worship leaders know how to let the songs lead worship and give the worshiper language for worship. They feel no pressure to say-a-lot or pray-a-lot to keep energy flowing.

Great worship leaders know how to execute a set, without being too sensitive to, or influenced by, the faces or dispositions they see in the congregation.

Great worship leaders know how to choose the right song when asked to play for an offering, a funeral, or to end a conference with a time of celebration. They have large, diverse catalog of worship songs in their memory bank; not just in their song binder.

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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.