(The following is an excerpt from an article I read several years ago about worship leading. I wish I could remember who wrote it.  It’s so good and really informed my experiences as a worship leader. I just had to share!)

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Leading worship (as an individual or a worship leading team) is kind of like being a “guide.”

Imagine this. You are a guide for this big hike up a “mountain trail” (after all – we often refer to praising God, or entering into His presence, as “going up the mountain of the Lord”). As the “guide,” you’ve been up and down this trail a thousand times.  You know it like the back of your hand. You could go up the trail blindfolded. You know it’s turns and bends, and you are really in shape from going up this mountain so many times. You could start at the bottom, run all the way up and get there in just a few minutes. And, at the top…wow!, what a view. (NOTE: If this is not true for you, you need to ask yourself, “why not?”  Then, let’s talk.)

It’s time to gather for worship, and there are quite a few “tourists” who have signed up for this hike today! What’s my job (or the job of my team of guides)? To lead everyone up the mountain to the summit!  There are lots of people here. Some are experiences “hikers” who will be on my heels all the way up.  Some are “first timers.” They aren’t even sure how to put on their pack and have their pack loaded with all kinds of heavy things!  Some are here every week, but only because they are “in the habit.”

Now, I could just take off and say “see you at the top; the trail is this way; last one up is a “rotten egg!”  Of course, I’ll probably be one of the first ones up, and I’ll have lots of time to enjoy the view.  But halfway back down the mountain, many of my “travelers” are getting lost wondering where I am, and not sure if they should try to continue.  Wouldn’t it be better if I just take it easy, stop and look behind me now and then, to make sure everyone is getting along OK?  After all, I don’t want to leave everyone behind for my benefit!  I’m the guide. I’m serving the people!  I must use discernment to see where the people are, and what I can do to help them get up the mountain!

In a corporate worship setting (not your own personal worship – hey, take off and run as fast as you can, and as best you know how into His presence in your own personal worship), I have to remind myself that although I can jump into “the river” so to speak and get into deep, intimate worship, and get totally lost, although that blesses me and I really enjoy it, I don’t know that I’ve really served (or helped) the people (although, I still want to get lost in deep, passionate worship, but with the body)!

What’s the point?  In my opinion, as worship leaders, we should remember that corporate worship isn’t necessarily the time or place for us to get so LOST in our personal worship of God that we lose sight of where the congregation is.  It’s ok to get lost in God, but do it with one eye open!  In other words – I want to maintain the heartbeat of our people and not go so far up (so quickly) that they get lost!

So, the idea is that we ALL get to the summit together!  What an incredible time that will be!  Not to say that we shouldn’t try and go to “the top,” but that we should not forget that it takes some people longer to get there, and as a leader, we are a servant. We must forget about our own ambition and desire, and serve the body!

Of course, there will be those hikers who start breathing hard after the first few minutes, and decide they can’t do it. And there will be those who, when getting out of the “car” – take one look up, through the fog and clouds, at the top of that mountain, and shake their heads, say “no way,” and get back in the car and leave.  Don’t let that get you down. Not everyone can or will go with you. But, stay true to your calling and remain focused on Jesus…the ultimate worship Leader.

How does this all of this apply practically?  Coming soon!

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