I like your comments, it raises for me the whole question of preparation for worship. In most churches the time spent in worship, is actually similar to, if not longer than the time given to the teaching. We probably expect our teachers to have spent time in preparation, both in prayer and at their desks. Given the importance we place on worship, is it unreasonable to expect those who lead worship to be giving any less time to their particular calling? Of course, every worship leader wants to reserve the right to flow into spontaneity, but I wonder if it is actually the hard work of preparation and the skills that we learn and practice that actually release a whole new breadth of expressive abilities that can be drawn upon in the times of spontaneity.
John Ryeland, Director, The Christian Healing Mission
I’ve experienced many worship times when the worship leader starts a song and my heart leaps because I have some connection with the song we are about to sing. So I join the worship leader on the journey he or she has invited me on. As we continue the journey I sometimes find that I have to pull out of the journey because the melody is not the melody that I have been taught or learnt.
So today I’m asking how important is it for us as worship leaders to learn the songs that we are using well? Is it ok to to kind of know where the song is going and jump in or should we spend a bit more time learning the material so that when we lead we lead with the best of our ability?
I think that we should take time to learn a song/melody thoroughly before we start to use it at church. I know we can be very keen as creatives to release a song because it has annointing on it or because we love the song so much, but how much more anointed would it be if we actually could relax into knowing we have spent quality time learning the song. Musicians in the secular music field would never stand before a group of people and sing/play a song that they kind of know, they have spent hours upon hours on the song in order to deliver it well. I think that we in the worship field should take a leaf out of their book. Not that we become obsessed with performance, just that we raise the game so that we skillfully lead worship.
As we do this we do a few things that help worship move along. Firstly we teach songs to our congregations correctly. When members of our churches visit other churches, festivals or are lead by other worship leaders they will be equipped to enter into the worship journey. We ourselves will be more relaxed and confident as we lead and because we are at ease the congregation will be too.
Practical ways to get the song into your head.
- Get a copy of it and listen to it on your ipod, in the car in the kitchen on the train/bus.
- Have it playing in the background when you are at home.
- Listen to it on the internet if you can’t afford a copy, make sure it’s the right version and not somebody’s else’s version/expression of the song.
- Rehearse rehearse rehearse all the best musicians do.