In order to lead others in worship, we must first lead ourself. This is much bigger than we might think, for it touches every area of our life!

What is the most important element of leading worship? It’s being able to lead yourself first. In this article, we’ll explain just what we mean by this.

Lead Others Where You Have Already Been

Revelation 3:20 Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.

We can get overwhelmed with leading worship sometimes. There are many elements to keep track of and we might feel too much pressure keeping people engaged and making the time of worship “successful.” We can forget it all starts with knowing Jesus and letting His life fill ours and that we can’t lead others where we haven’t first gone ourselves. We must start by spending time with Jesus and getting to know His character and nature in order to help others know Him. Leading worship is about blessing God with the praise and worship He so rightly deserves and helping others to see who God is as reflected in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Our prayerful hope is that in the process those we lead will respond in worship. Think about it this way: it’s like you’re introducing someone to a good friend of yours but in order to communicate the depth of your relationship, you have to actually have a growing and vibrant relationship with your friend. Otherwise, when you try to introduce them, it will be contrived. In the persons of the Father, Son, and Spirit, God is a personal being and we need to know him personally to lead others in worshipping him.

Desire Jesus More Than Anything 

Philippians 3:8-9 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. 

Paul talked about this often. His desire in life was to know Jesus above all else and at whatever cost. His life and presence were of utmost importance to Paul and it should be to us, too. Jesus is the center of everything. He holds the cosmos together and keeps our hearts beating, yet he is as close and personal as the most caring friend. But there will be costs along the way. The most obvious one is time: are you willing to put in the time it takes to get to know Jesus? It will lead to the most amazing journey of your life when you get to know the God of the universe and let him speak into your life as a friend would but it will require sacrifice. If you do, you will be able to lead others in worship because you will truly know the one you’re worshipping.

Look for Opportunity in Challenge

Hebrews 2:18  Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.

In his book “Simply Jesus and You,” Joseph M. Stowell describes having places of our lives “intersect” where Jesus’ humanity touches ours. These places are in the temptations we face in life, the sufferings we endure, and the areas we have a choice to surrender to God. Whenever we face these challenges, we can invite Jesus into the midst of them, for He has walked in our shoes and knows what we have experienced. When we do, we are honored to be able to connect with Jesus in these places. It turns our trials upside down and now we can see them as opportunities for knowing Jesus more fully. Turn your trials into opportunities and get to know Jesus in the midst of it. He is with you in the journey, helping you every step of the way.

Value God’s Will Above Everything

Proverbs 3:34 The Lord mocks the mockers but is gracious to the humble.

As we surrender our will in order to pursue Jesus above all else, we begin to know Him in new and amazing ways. We run into problems, however, when we think that we can serve God but still hold onto control of a few things in our life. Jesus asks for total surrender in following him. The Bible says that Jesus did not even consider equality with God to be grasped, but took the nature of a servant and surrendered his will to the Father’s. When we model our lives after this, we begin to experience a certain spiritual authority and favor which we didn’t know before. This is where we begin to enter into more impact in leading others. Ultimately, where we see God’s will most clearly is in the pages of scripture. As we get to know God’s heart more in the pages of scripture, we also begin to learn his general will for our lives (loving God, loving others, making disciples, maximizing our gifts, and being thankful always – to name a few) and also his specific will for our lives. Furthermore, when we begin to get to know God’s voice in the pages of scripture, we are able to drown out the competing counterfeit voices.

John 10:27-28 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me

Seek to Have a heart like Jesus

Micah 6:8 No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. 

When we look at Jesus, we see a humble and gentle heart. We also see in the pages of scripture that God desires a humble spirit that recognizes its need for God. The Bible talks about this as a broken and contrite spirit. From this place, God is able to entrust us with more of His empowerment in our lives for His work. As we continually put our own agendas aside to follow Jesus, we begin to see His authority touch our lives in amazing ways. Ultimately, we use this empowerment to help others to trust Jesus as their own savior, honor God in their lives, and help others to do the same. In this way, we obey Jesus’ commandment that if we love Him, we will obey His commands. What is His command? To love one another the way the He has loved us. It all connects. When we are putting Jesus first, we naturally want to put others first by mentoring them in trusting Jesus, honoring God, and helping them to help others in the same way. From this place, we are actually able to lead others not only in times of musical worship, but in a lifestyle of worship.

Article for this topic by Ashton Abbott.

Key Points:

  • In order to lead others well, you have to take them to a place you have already been.
  • Putting your relationship with Jesus first is crucial to living a life of worship.
  • Look at the challenges in life as an opportunity to connect with Jesus in unique ways.
  • Follow God’s will and leading above all else, no matter the cost.
  • Loving others is one of the most practical ways we can have a heart like Jesus as we live a life of worship.

Quote This:

Micah 6:8 No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. 

See Also: Worship Teams

Talk About It
  1. What is your initial reaction to this topic? What jumped out at you?
  2. Do you usually lead others from a place where you’ve already been or where you wished you were?
  3. What could help you move to the place you want to be in leading?
  4. What are the things you think about most through your day and week? Where does Jesus fit on that list?
  5. How might you be able to ask God to help you to pursue him above all else?
  6. What are some challenges in life you are facing now that provide opportunities to connect with Jesus’ humanity in ways that draw you closer to him?
  7. Have you surrendered total control of your life to Jesus? Why or why not?
  8. What do you think it means to have a heart like Jesus? How does helping others fit into the picture?
  9. How is mentoring a practical way you can help others and display a heart like Jesus?
  10. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.

This is part of the Worship Training series.