Hey loop community I wanted to spend a little time thinking about how we prepare to lead our people each week. I know we spend a lot of time as musicians prepping the content, arrangements/song sequences, loops, multi-tracks, etc. So we tend to spend a lot of time prepping the music but what do we do to prepare what we say aside from what we sing? Unfortunately, we need to speak as well as sing. I know for me it has always been a pretty daunting task. What we have to realize is that we can’t rely on our talents as musicians alone. It is vitally important that we learn to speak as well.
We have the unique opportunity and privilege to help the people we serve connect with what you’re singing by leading them to a response through what you say. What we need to understand is that there is a balance that we need to find. I have visited churches where the worship leader talks too much and gives too much information but I have also seen times in which the worship leader doesn’t say anything and just plays through the music. I have to admit that I have been guilty of that as well and I am not saying that there are not occasions when not saying anything is best. Although, I think too often our sole focus is on singing or getting our people to sing but our role as worship leaders is to help our people see who Jesus is, who God is, what He has done, and then lead that response. We can’t assume that everyone is ready to sing nor should we assume that everyone in the room is a believer.
Okay so how do we deal with these issues? The best way that I have found to balance everything out is to script what I am going to say. I know what you are thinking… Where is the spontaneity in that? Well in my experience by scripting out what I am going to say has given me freedom to use or not use my material. There may well be a week that I find what I was going to say is not appropriate or will make an impact in that particular moment so I don’t use it. What it does give me is freedom from the stress of coming up with something to say off the cuff all the time. Some you may be able to pull this off but when I try it I end up either going on too long or not saying enough. In all honesty I find myself stumbling over what to say, which leaves me frustrated, and sounding like someone just standing on stage rambling on nonsensically.
So what are some practical ways to approach this issue? The first thing is to prepare an introduction. Don’t just start out by getting up in front of everyone and saying, “Let’s worship.” The people we are leading need to know three things: who we are, what we are here to do and why we are about to do it. The next thing is to identify a moment. Really look at your set and pray through it. This is the fun part as this is where we get to partner with the Holy Spirit. Is there a lyric or a moment that can be used as an opportunity to connect the hearts and minds in the room to something that would allow them to sing that song even before they’re singing it with their mouths.
Todd Fields said that in order to create a moment like this we must think about what we are going to say in light of three things: being concise, being clear and connecting. We want to hook our people to a song not just have them sing it. There are many transition techniques we can use. It could be scripture, a line in a song or even an experience that you or someone else had that could drive the point of the song home. The key is though to be prepared. The more we prepare the smoother things will go.
The Holy Spirit can lead you in the days preceding Sunday for what He wants you to say. We have to love our people enough to sit with Him and ask Him to lead you as you prepare to script out what you are going to lead your people in.