Friday, October 23, 2009

Worship Leader Tip #2

Know your people. (Part 1 - the congregation)

This seems way too simple to even be a tip, but the truth is that many leaders will miss out on how they can best lead their congregations simply because they don't take the time to get to know them. We've all heard the saying that "people don't care what you know until they know how much you care", but it really holds true. Taking the time before or after services to engage in conversations with the people we serve is critical to their trusting our leadership.

This can be especially evident if there is a generational gap between the leader and a majority or core of the congregation. With the movement toward more contemporary styles in music, many churches are hiring younger people to help lead their congregations in worship. What this means is that there is often a gap between the leader and the core of who he/she is trying to help worship God.

It is all the more critical for this leader to intentionally and regularly connect with trusted advisors in the age group/generation that they serve. Scheduling a weekly lunch with a few people and asking tough questions like: What do you think about song selection? How is the volume? Are you able to sing the songs? Any theological concerns? Note: This does not mean that if you are trying to change the target age of your congregation that every preference of the older generation should be catered to, but these concerns certainly should be considered. Creating unnecessary division is just plain foolish.

A theme that I'll hit on quite a bit in these posts is asking a question that my brother, Jason Miller, brought up: "What is helpful?" If we're trying to facilitate a connection between God and our people, we need to first fall on our knees and ask God, "what for this service, season, event, etc will most help our people worship?" Then, truly, asking trusted people what they find helpful in worship can help us grow our churches in thriving worship communities.

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