Archives For Leadership

These are posts that give practical advice and insight into the topics that are relevant to worship leaders and musicians. We take a look into the day-to-day challenges and occurrences that many worship leaders face and offer encouragement and insight. Take a look at what we have to say about the technical side of choosing songs and instrumentation as well as defining success and building an effective team. Join in on the conversation and let us know what works best for you!

We all struggle at times as worship leaders, musicians and techs on the right balance between presentation and performance, humbleness and showiness, reverent yet engaging. There are a hundred words to describe the point where a worship service crosses our proverbial red line. In many ways our creativity is at war with our conscience. To aggravate things, musicians and techs are often called out as being too slick or showy – much more than teachers and preachers are – even though we implement many of the same techniques to communicate with our audiences…

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Our words do matter. And I have a concern with the way that we use a couple of particular words: I don’t want to be called a ‘worship leader’ anymore.

In between working as Worship Arts Director at a church and The City Harmonic becoming a full-time job for me I ran a small marketing company. And if I learned anything at all in that time it’s that our ideas, our habits and our words really do matter. I learned that a lot effort and resources have been spent studying the mind – how we make decisions, what governs some of our instinctual actions, etc…

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Planned or Spontaneous?

Jimi Williams —  February 13, 2014

Whenever I teach about preparing for worship at an event, I inevitably have someone raise their hand and say “I don’t like to plan too much. I’d rather be spontaneous and respond to what the Spirit is doing.” Or I’ve heard people say they won’t use tracks during worship because it limits there spontaneity.

Let’s think this through. There is nothing spiritual or unspiritual about making a plan. In fact, Proverbs 16:3 says “Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed.” The Bible is filled with examples of people who made detailed plans to do something important for God. Nehemiah rebuilt the entire wall around Jerusalem. David built the first temple for God. Jesus’ plan was to endure the cross…

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I had a very wise pastor tell me once to never do ministry alone. As worship leaders we need to understand that we can lead a band every week, be surrounded by a team of people, but still operate our ministry as a “lone ranger”. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to see if you are really building a team…

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Platforms

Jimi Williams —  October 31, 2013

Recently, I’ve heard a lot of talk about platforms and movements. We see it often in the entertainment business, sports and politics. It’s Hollywood stars hanging out with the “right people”. It’s associating with the “right brands”. In politics, a platform can be a public office (Congress), an organization (Rainbow Push Coalition or Tea Party), or a cause. Sometimes a family name can be a platform. Being a Kennedy will open quite a few doors regardless of whether you are a genius or intellectually challenged.

“Leveraging a platform” means using an association with a personality, movement or organization to raise one’s own public persona. Often a platform makes an individual, who is not well known, an industry leader and public figure. We’ve seen this with people like Steve Jobs (Apple) and Yahoo’s Melissa Mayer…

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A few months ago we talked about how to choose songs for your setlist. Now we have five more things to consider when planning your worship set:

THEME

Not every church gathering is going to have a theme or even a subject focus. Many pastors I’ve served under are still forming their sermons on Thursday for the coming Sunday. However, if you do have a theme, it’s powerful to plan songs with the same theme to create touch points with the sermon. For example, if the sermon is on grace, at least a couple of songs with a grace theme, like “Your Grace Is Enough”, will help connect worship to the teaching. You can search for songs by theme at www.WorshipTogether.com.

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Church Gear Swiping

Jimi Williams —  October 9, 2013

Dear church music gear swiper,

This is a plea. I am calling on your sense of kindness and compassion. Please stop swiping gear from different worship venues without letting someone know or bringing the item back once you are done.

When I was rehearsing for worship last Wednesday night I realized that the monitors weren’t working, so I went to the soundboard to investigate. I noticed you had swiped 2 cables that connected the soundboard to the monitor sends on the snake.

I corralled one of the students who helps out with sound and blamed him for the swipe. He assured me that it was you and he went and swiped the 2 cables back that I needed from where you left them!

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Worship Band Rotation

David Gutekunst —  October 4, 2013

Have you ever had your pastor or a church leader approach you after a service asking why you have the same people up there every week? Little do they know, the reason everything has been flowing so well lately is because the band finally starting to gel. We all know that leading becomes a whole lot easier when your band knows what it means when you are stomping your foot for a build or throwing your guitar neck up to signal the end of a song.

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I was chatting with a friend who is a worship leader the other day and he was telling me about a guy at his church that approached him about helping out in worship. My friend informed him that there was a pretty big rotation of musicians for Sunday morning, but that the church could really use some help at a small recovery ministry that met on Friday evenings.

After spending a day “praying about it”, the guy told my friend that he would not be able to do the Friday ministry and emphasized that he really wanted to play on Sunday morning.

You’ve probably had similar experiences. There’s the musician in your church that is certain that if he/she could only play with the band, their playing would certainly take worship to a whole new level!

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I read an article recently about a study that was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study showed participants video clips from classical performances and were asked to pick the best performers. The catch was some of the participants were given video clips with sound, while others were given video clips without sound. A third group was given audio only clips. In other words, some volunteers could only hear the music. Some could see the musicians and hear the music. And some could only see the musicians — they heard nothing.

The results were quite surprising. Only the group that had video clips without sound were able to successfully pick the actual winning performances…

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