More Than Singing - What Every Worship Leader Should Know
It seems like a lot of people think that the job of a worship leader* is simply to sing songs in front of a congregation. Although this is certainly the most visible part of a worship leader's job it is not the most important nor even a necessary part of the job. I knew one music director in a large contemporary style church who almost never sang in front of the congregation. So what skills and knowledge should a worship leader possess to be effective? Below is a list of what every worship leader should know. I think you may be surprised at how much a worship leader needs to know.
*When I say worship leader I am referring to the person who coordinates all of the music and possibly all of the art in a local congregation. The actual title might be worship pastor, worship director, music director, or some other similar title.
- Familiar with the whole Bible and its message.
- Able to do your own indepth Bible study.
- Have a solid understanding of basic church theology and the theology of your specific church or denomination.
- Know how to grow in your personal relationship with God.
Musical Knowledge and Skills
- Have a solid understanding of music theory: triads, extended chords, scales, chord progressions, music charts, and how to modulate.
- Ideally, have the ability to communicate with traditional instrumentalists - which requires a knowledge of how to read and write traditional music.
- Be able to play the piano and/or guitar.
- Be able to sing both lead and harmony parts and help others learn harmony.
Arts and Technology
- Have an understanding and appreciation of the visual and performing arts other than music and how to use them in worship.
- Have a basic understanding of sound, lighting and video as used in worship.
Worship Leading Skills
- Understand what the Bible says about worship.
- Know how to lead a worship band rehearsal.
- Know about the history of worship.
- Know how to plan a worship service and major events.
- Know how to administrate/oversee a worship ministry.
- Know how to plan and oversee a worship budget.
- Ideally, be able to lead a choir and orchestra so you can do larger style programs than just a small pop band.
- Be able to lead a traditional service, if necessary.
- Be able to write your own music, charts and instrumental parts.
- Know how to deal with difficult people.
- Be able to communicate effectively.
- Understand basic church leadership.
- Know how to be creative.
- Be able to lead teams.
How Can I Learn All of This?
Now that you understand what every worship leaders should know, you may be wondering how you could possibly learn all of this? First of all, understand that good leaders are always learning and growing. So, it is not necessary to know all of this at the beginning, but, the more you know the easier it will be to lead.
Here are the three most common ways to develop these skills and knowledge:
- Self Study - teach yourself through books and online material. This is a very common method that people try. Although this is a possible way to do it, it requires considerable self-discipline. The other problem with this method is that it is very difficult to correct your own errors in vocal or instrumental technique. That is why even most professional musicians seek coaching at times. If you want to learn this way, the above list will help you know what to learn and what skills to develop.
- College - get a degree in worship leading. If you choose this method, make sure that the program covers all of the above topics. Also keep in mind that this can be a very expensive process. Worship degrees are only available in private Christian colleges and the costs of attending a private college can be a major barrier. (Worship Arts Conservatory is probably the least expensive way to do this.)
- Apprenticeship/Internship - get hands on training at a church. This can be very effective assuming that they give you training in all of the above topics.
How Can Worship Arts Conservatory Help?
At Worship Arts Conservatory, in our School of Worship, we have courses that cover all of the above topics and more! And we offer an Apprenticeship program. We currently offer three levels of training in Worship Leadership:
- Worship Leadership Certificate - a little over a year of full time study. This covers the most important of the above topics but is not comprehensive.
- Worship Leadership Diploma - a little over 2 years of full time study. This covers most of the above topics.
- Worship Leadership Advanced Diploma - about 4 years of full time study. This is our most comprehensive worship leader program of study and it will help you learn everything you need to know.
How can I get started at Worship Arts Conservatory?
Ready to get started on a career in worship ministry? Do you want to develop the skills and knowledge that every worship leaders should know? Click the button below to start your application to be a student at Worship Arts Conservatory.
Can I talk to someone about Worship Arts Conservatory?
We would love to chat with you about how we can help you become a skilled and confident worship leader.
Call us at 844-496-7744
or fill out the form below and we will get back to you.