5 New Year’s Resolutions for Worship Leaders

If you’re like me, you’ve been spending the last week avoiding the post-Christmas cold, trying to tell your brain that you no longer have to mentally rehearse your Christmas songs, and probably thinking about what the rest of the program year is going to look like at your church. 

Here are my five New Year’s Resolutions for Worship Leaders. Let them be prompts for your own goals in 2020: 

1. Build up leaders in your band

It can be hard to let go of the reigns. But it will be rewarding to your volunteers, your congregation, and yourself to raise up a few leaders this year. 

It’ll take extra work and probably a post from Worship Forward (coming soon!), but I promise it will be worth it. Give them advance notice, extra coaching, and a few practice runs. 

Besides, you’re gonna get sick at some point in 2020. Wouldn’t it be great to have a volunteer who’s equipped to lead if you can’t? 

2. Dump that problematic song you’ve sung for years

You know what song I’m talking about. Say goodbye. There’s a better one out there somewhere. 

(Looking for ideas? Check out the Progressive Worship Spotlight!)

3. Hone your craft

This is especially for those who feel they’ve really hit their stride this year. Way to go! Now is the best time to take your ability to the next level. Take some guitar lessons. Enroll in a music class. I’ve been playing piano by ear all my life, well enough that most people don’t know I don’t read piano music. I started piano lessons in the fall of 2019 so I can be more available if someone needs last-minute accompaniment at church.

We can always grow in our skill. What skill of your deserves an upgrade this year? 

4. Do that one task that requires a lot of work in the front end, but will make everything easier in the long run

Every church has that a thing we do in “the way we’ve always done it” because that’s “the way we’ve always done it”. Let’s do better in 2020!

Maybe there’s a newer, slicker way to do lyric slides. A new system of scheduling volunteers. A new template for writing out chord charts or sharing harmonies. Commit to starting fresh on these things so everything runs more smoothly in the future. It’s worth it! 

(You can bet there are going to be posts about making chord charts and teaching harmonies this year!)

5. Find time to worship WITHOUT leading

I’m sure I’m not the first worship leader who’s forgotten how to worship. 

The realization was sudden. A few years ago, a friend had invited me to worship with them. As soon as we started singing, I noticed I didn’t really know what to do. I didn’t feel comfortable singing out, I didn’t know what to do with my hands, and whenever I got into some sort of worshipful groove, I became very weepy. This was unexpected! So I just stood there with my hands in my pockets and mouthed the words. 

(And immediately felt solidarity with every guy I’ve secretly judged for doing that.) 

What was going on? I had been leading worship—whole-heartedly, intentionally, and happily, I might add—every Sunday for years, but as soon as I’m away from a microphone, I lose all traction? 

Turns out I had forgotten how to worship when I wasn’t curating the environment. 

Worship leading is a legitimate and important form of worship. But it’s not the same as an honest-to-goodness-no-microphone-no-stage-no-rehearsal encounter with the Divine. I was surprised by how different the two are. 

For the past two years, I’ve been attending a monthly Taize worship service at a different church. It’s a completely different style than what I usually do. I walk in, say hi to a few people, sit down, and try to worship — sans leading. 

Let me tell you, it’s taken practice. I’m two years in, and I’m still getting used to worshiping this way. And it has absolutely changed the way I lead worship — how I relate to the congregation, and what I bring to the table each Sunday — for the better. It’s been the single most important step in my faith life and worship leading career. 

And so, let’s let 2020 be the year we take the next step, worship leaders! Blessings!

COMING UP for Worship Forward: We’re beefing up our social media presence! Get ready to engage with other worship leaders and receive updates Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Coming early 2020.

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