As pastors and preachers, we know how important music is to the worship experience. As a result, the person who leads music plays a key role in how effective our services may be in leading people into meaningful worship.

I have come to believe there are three key characteristics we need in a worship leader. (Yes, I believe the pastor is the ultimate worship leader, but this term has come to be accepted in many of our churches today.)

The worship leader must be a sincere worshipper. The role of worship leader is not that of a performer who stands above the congregation; the worship leader must reflect a dynamic faith in Christ that is expressed in his or her own worship. The congregation will, in its own worship expression, rarely rise above what it sees in the worship leader. (Pastors, the congregation members also need to see us sincerely involved in worship.)

The worship leader should focus on participation, not performance. In too many churches, a small and declining percentage of the congregation actually is engaged in singing. (I was in one church recently where it appeared about one-fourth of the people were joining in the worship music, and perhaps 10 percent of the men.) There are many reasons why this can happen, such as loud amplification of those on stage, drowning out the congregation, or use of songs that are better suited to a solo performance but difficult for a congregation to sing. The effective worship leader focuses on ways to engage the maximum number of people in the worship experience.

The worship leader is a ministry partner. One of the greatest gifts you can give your church is a partnership of pastor and worship leader in which they pray together, plan together and mutually seek to involve the people in worship that draws them into the presence of God.

Michael Duduit
Follow on Twitter @MichaelDuduit

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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