7 unnecessary distractions by worship leaders that impede your praise

“Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will.
The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.
The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition,
not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment.”
Philippians 1:15-17

WHILE WORSHIP LEADERSHIP REQUIRES BEING SEEN AND HEARD, THERE ARE SOME THINGS WORSHIP LEADERS MUST NOT DO. A leader must be self-aware, able to discern when his method is most and least effective. He must be intentional, giving careful thought to how he may best lead the church in each particular act of worship. Above all, he must be sensitive to anything in his attitude, appearance, or sound that would get in the way of worship.

In a prior posting, we considered 7 essential audible and visible cues from worship leaders that amplify your praise.

Here are 7 unnecessary distractions by worship leaders that impede your praise

1. Extra starting notes. It isn’t necessary to sing the full arpeggio. Generally, anyone who understands music enough to benefit from hearing the starting note can easily find their note simply by hearing “Do.” The reason for also giving the starting note for the lead part is to avoid accidentally starting on “Do” when the song starts on another syllable.

2. Overpowering voice or microphone. There is nothing to be gained by blasting the church with sound. Work with your tech booth to adjust the mic accordingly. A wireless handheld mic gives the leader optimum control, but beware of cheap mics or using equipment which is unfamiliar to you without doing a sound check. If you and your tech booth cannot avoid feedback or annoying white noise, turn off the tech until you can fix it! Technology helps until it doesn’t help.

3. Too much ad lib. I’ll be the first to say how much I enjoy singing with soul! Just be mindful that ad lib that slows down the tempo or clashes with the written parts will cause the church to stop singing. Sing with soul, but be mindful of the congregation. What works in a solo or rehearsed group may not work congregationally. If your church is not accustomed to any ad lib, you may need to ease them into it.

4. Over-conducting. Elaborate or intricate hand signals are not necessary and may only confuse the church. Let the effectiveness of your conducting be your guide. If the church is doing what you’re signaling, it’s working. If they are not following your lead, try something else. Generally, this will only be a problem for choral conductors. Most leaders have the opposite problem of failing to conduct enough.

5. Stoic or angry expressions. You need to practice in a mirror or, better yet, have someone video record you leading. If you are not smiling, or worse, tend to furrow your brow while making “o” shapes with your mouth, you may be frightening visitors and small children. It looks like you are bored or angrily yelling. Practice pleasant, natural expressions that fit the mood of the song lyrics and music.

6. Inappropriate apparel or grooming. This would include anything that would draw unnecessary attention. If your church culture is to dress up, as a leader, you should follow suit. If the dress is more casual, blend in. For example, the featured photo would be entirely appropriate in a church comprised of Wookies. Whatever your culture, reverence and focus on worship should be guiding principles.

7. Lengthy remarks or instructions. Excessive commentary and instructions, no matter how eloquent, always detract from the worship. It also tends to spawn more of the same from every participant, causing the service to go over at least 10-15 minutes. If your worship segment requires lengthy instructions, it is too complex for live worship with an unrehearsed group of non-musicians. Keep it seamlessly flowing and simple!

Servant Song

Make me a servant,
Just like your Son,
For He was a servant;
Please make me one.
Make me a servant,
Do what You must do
To make me a servant;
Make me like You.

Make me a servant,
Take all my pride,
For I would be lowly,
Humble inside,
Giving to others
With all that I do
In love for my brother;
Make me like You.

Make me a servant,
Filled by Your might,
And may all my labors
Shine with Your light.
Show me Your footsteps
And what I should do;
For now and forever,
Make me like you.

JIMMY OWENS AND CAROL OWENS (1978), arr. TIM JENNINGS (2000),
st. 2-3 M. W. BASSFORD (2000)

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