Is It Okay To Have Fun While Leading Worship?

Jimi Williams —  August 21, 2014

Yes!

Okay, that would a pretty boring blog post, so allow me to digress. I’ve been in church pretty much my whole life. Admittedly, my church experience, as with most of us, is limited to a pretty narrow stream. But why is it that most of the time when I worship at church, the band looks like they are either mad or bored?

Now I don’t believe for a minute that most of the people in the band are mad or bored. My hypothesis is that we have issues with having fun while playing church music. That somehow we are more “spiritual” by appearing melancholy. I also think 50% to 75% of the people on stage are scared out of their minds to be in front of people, but that’s a different discussion.

I grew up playing in cover bands. We played the same songs hundreds of times for people who could care less how technically good we were. They just wanted to have fun and forget their cares for a while. When you’re in a cover band, you’d better enjoy playing, and enjoy who you’re playing with, or you won’t last very long. We could apply this to our worship teams as well.

Do you enjoy playing at church? Do you enjoy the people you’re playing with? I hope so! Sometimes when worship is really great, I love to turn around and smile at my band. It’s my way of saying to them “I love doing this with you.” Music is fun. Worship is fun. It’s okay to have fun together worshiping with our church families!

So this week at church, try to lose the long faces. Try smiling at one another and at your congregation. The joy of the Lord is our strength!

Jimi Williams

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Jimi is VP of Worship Resources for Capitol CMG Publishing, overseeing all Worship Together initiatives and resources. He also leads worship at his home church and at various events and conferences.

10 responses to Is It Okay To Have Fun While Leading Worship?

  1. Psalms 16 : 11 says “in His presence is the fulness of Joy…” so if one cant express it or feel the ‘fun’ of being in the presence of the Father then definately he/she has to check how is He/she is standing like what Isaiah did (Isaiah 6). psalms 100 will be the expression!

  2. To use the word mentioned in the title of this blog, I absolutely have “fun”. But to express myself more accurately, I allow myself to get “caught up” in the emotion of the music. If the song has a slow, worship-type of feel, I will definitely raise my hand and close my eyes in adoration during a sustained note. If the music is up-tempo and bright, I will rock back and forth or nod my head to the beat. Smile? Absolutely – God is good!!!

    Being a musician isn’t ONLY playing notes, but for me it’s a CALLING. The Lord blessed me with this gift to bring Him glory, so I consider it an honor and a privilege to be a musician in the house of God. Every note I play goes up as an offering of praise, so I must live a life that is pleasing to Him in order to usher in His Anointing.

  3. Great post. This is especially true when working with youth. They are more concerned over appearance and “who’s in the crowd?”. I tell the praise and worship group that the most important thing to remember is that they are worshiping God. They shouldn’t do it for me (the worship leader), the pastor or anyone else in the church. Its all about God.

    There is a good amount of responsibility on the worship leader though. If he/she isn’t expressive you can’t expect the rest of the group to.

  4. How about setting up a video camera during worship so that the band can see how they worship with their bodies and with their faces? View the video one-on-one with individual band members so they don’t feel publicly criticized, Praise publicly, but criticize privately. And worship leaders should be doing all they can to help the band to worship: Are they consistent with the music, or does the band have scrunched faces because they’re trying to remember how to play the song this particular time? Are they playing in bass and electric guitar-friendly keys like G, C, E, A and D, or did the leader decide to slap a capo on to change the key to F# in order to hit that high note that they’ve been practicing? For a congregation, seeing a worship band actually worshiping goes a lot further than seeing a worship leader performing.

  5. last I checked when I’m playing a Tomlin tune I’m in a cover band. Forgive me for thinking about image for just a second, but I’m constantly challenging our team to SMILE. The one shy female vocalist up front can’t get there, one instrumentalist actually told me the music is boring. I don’t expect smiles from either of them, but I still ask.
    Most of this music is easy enough that we could take time to smile or show more enthusiasm. We have a lot to be happy about. The songs reflect it why shouldn’t the people??

  6. A good worship leader will get everyone singing and heard. I have a novel idea.
    lets letthe instruments rip, but take away the mikes from the prompters. Then the only voices that can be heard will be in unison and sound even better. I hope some one trys it and it catches on.

  7. Jimi, I have a tough time smiling sometimes because I’m embarrassed. I give it my all, learn and know my parts only to have other musicians show up without their music, or just learning their part. When I play, I recognize that we are playing a vital part in helping people experience the presence of God. When done right and professionally , you can’t help but smile. : )

  8. I really like the ideas in this article except that in the first sentence of the second paragraph you said that you don’t believe people are scared, but then in the last line of the same paragraph, you said that 50%- 70% are scared of being on stage.

    I want to share your article with my worship leaders but I get stuck on the seemingly contradictory ideas in this paragraph. Maybe I’m reading it wrong?