Worship Leading Tips: 3 Questions You Must Answer in Every Worship Service

Imagine going to a new friend’s home for dinner and experiencing this:

    • your host simply opened the door and said, “Welcome! Come on in!” and then turned and walked away
    • person after person in their family walked into the room and simply started a conversation without introducing themselves
    • everyone in the host family seemed busy with tasks, but you were unsure of what you were supposed to do

You’d probably feel a little disoriented and vaguely uncomfortable. As a worship leader, you are usually the initial host for the worship service each weekend. I’m consistently astounded as I attend churches around the country that many worship leaders don’t consider these simple ways to make people feel at home in the worship service.

There are three basic questions people are subconsciously asking that you should answer within the first few minutes of worship.  They are:

    • who are you?
    • what’s going to happen?
    • why are we here?

Let’s examine these questions together.

Who are you?

Please don’t just have the band kick in and start singing the first song. I know you don’t want the service to feel like it’s focused on you, but welcoming people and introducing yourself is really a way to serve the people, to make them feel at home.

Yes, I know that many people will know who you are—the people that come regularly. But the people that are new have no idea who you are and may not even understand your role. If your church uses IMAG (stands for image magnification where a camera projects your image onto the screen), you can use this to introduce yourself. No matter how you do it, you should welcome people, tell them your name, and give them some context for your role in the service.

What’s going to happen?

Give people just a sentence or two to give them a clue as to what’s going to happen next. Many people (myself included) find it hard to engage in any experience if I don’t have some understanding of where we’re going. It’s like asking people to board a train with you when you haven’t told them where the train is going.

Something as simple as: “Join us as we sing a few songs of worship to our Creator” can be all we need to engage for the next few minutes. Just tell me what’s going to happen.

Why are we here?

This question needs to be answered for both the guest and the regular attender. The guest needs to hear from you about the “why” behind what we’re doing. Why are we singing? The regular attender needs to be reminded about the “why” as well. Otherwise, they may engage in the service only at a surface level. A surface service will never be meaningful or transformative.

Here are some sample “why” statements that can inform guests and remind regular attenders about the purpose of our gathering … and of our worship.

“As we sing together, we will be reminded of how big God is, how good God is, and how strong God is. And the best thing for us to remember today … is how close God is. He is here, with us and in us. I don’t know about you, but there are many times that I forget that. Let’s remind each other as we sing.”

“For thousands of years, followers of Jesus have spent time praising Him in song. Something happens in our hearts through music that is right and good—we are reminded of God’s goodness and His faithfulness to us—giving us renewed strength for each day.”

“We’re going to spend time singing together this morning because God is worthy of our worship. We are tempted to give our time, attention, and honor to all sorts of things, but there is only One who is truly worthy of our worship. Let’s reset our hearts toward Him as we sing together.”

This is also a chance to connect the weekly worship experience to your church’s specific strategy. (Imagine that!) You could say something like this:

“As followers of Christ, we believe that we need to engage on a regular basis in 3 key environments—a place of worship, a place of belonging, and a place of service. (I’m guessing at what your strategy might be, of course.) These three environments work together to help us experience the fullness of life that Jesus offers to us. Let’s worship God together.”

However you do it, you must answer these three questions in every worship service. Get creative!  You don’t have to answer them the same way every time, but you should answer them. When you do, you’ll make people feel at home so that they can more fully engage in the entire worship experience. And isn’t that what you really want?

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steve Finkill

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Mr. Steven Finkill — 03/13/13 8:12 am

Thanks, Paul ... aka the Path Finder.

The Path Finder — 03/13/13 7:52 am

Nice article friend ...

Recent Comments
I love Ed's writings and heart. I am frustrated by these articles, however. Much of the missiological basis of the Church Growth Movement are not mentioned, and the origination of the formulas are not substantiated. Also, the Movement via Wagner, started mentioning the importance of health over 3o years ago. I wish these articles were better researched and less sweeping in their generalizations. Things like E1, E2, E3 evangelism, group multiplication, relational networks, faith, health, and the care to measure the right things are largely missing here. Perhaps Ed has earned the right to generalize, but I still was disappointed. But keep researching Ed! Ed and Thom have continued on in the spirit of the movement by doing quality research, and for that I am deeply grateful.
 
— Gary Westra
 
This discussion will continue, for sure. I am tasked with the online worship ministry do our church at FBC Trussville and it is proving to be an important piece of the overall ministry. As in most things In life and technology, balance is in order. Many of our older adults prefer the "live" service online rather than a week or even day-later DVD or downloaded service. They tell me it is important for them to be a part while the service occurs. This is key because if a person simply wanted the message or music or to see the pastor because they "like" him, then it would not need to be live. There is a sense with our people that they need to experience the worship with their church family in real time. Theologically, folks will have issues. This is a disruptive technology for church. But I would hope that before we toss it all away we would approach it with wisdom and humility. Personally, I would like to see the Church grow through small, cost-effective ways like this and not just brick-and-mortar.
 
— Robby
 
It seems this was written awhile ago but I would like to respond. Mr. Surratt makes great points. Points that should be taken seriously by all churches. I just do not think these points are the main reason people are not coming back to churches. Who knows the exact reason why anyone does not come back unless they tell you, but I can say with certainty the reasons I do not return are usually the same. 1. Love, tolerance, and acceptance. (unbelievers, baby Christians) Church members seem to want their guests or potential members to behave a certain way. They want them to conform to the system that is already in place. In some ways this is understandable. In other ways, it is isolating to the guest. They want to feel loved and accepted the way they are. They want to be told everything is ok no matter their past. They want to be given time to work out their immediate more pressing issues without having to worry about what to wear and how to talk (church speak). 2. Love, tolerance, and acceptance (believers, unchurched) Many times, these people are looking for what fits their already preconceived ideas of what "good churches" are. These preconceived notions are difficult to overcome and some of them were addressed in Mr. Surratt's article. But I can tell you that a truly loving, a truly tolerant, and a truly accepting church can overcome most of these things. You may never be able to overcome a taste in music, or a theological difference, but most everything else can be healed with Love. 3. People can see the business aspect of the church. I see it almost immediately when I walk into certain churches for the first time. I think people understand that a church has many aspects of itself that are business oriented. I just believe they dont want to experience these aspects when they visit. How many churches are so focused on growth, in numbers of bodies, that they forget the growth of the heart? The American church is now fully Americanized. Its a show and a numbers game. People come to church, especially new comers, CRAVING to fill a void in their life. If you are offering the same thing they can get in the real world, how are you any different? There are plenty of other reasons people do not return and many may not be avoidable. However, the church as a whole needs to reevaluate the arena in which they are playing. The simplicity of the Gospel is good enough to fulfill the hearts of the unbelievers and restore the prodigal's to a relationship with Christ. Love thy neighbor as thyself and love thy God with all your heart.
 
— Shay Wallace
 

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