Great Worship Leaders ... are proficient.

Worship leaders who play their instrument well have a much longer sustainability factor within a changing congregation than do those who are weak technically and cannot handle a diversity of demographic or need in a local community.

Great worship leaders are able on their instrument. They are not always the most proficient musician on the team; in fact, they are sometimes the least! However, they can lead the band confidently with what they do know.

Great worship leaders have just enough arranging ability to take a rag tag team, intuitively know what songs they can pull off smoothly, and what songs they simply cannot, and make them sound sweet together in simple arrangements.

Great worship leaders practice privately, and keep their own chops up personally or with lessons.

Great Worship Leaders ... understand authority.

These worship leaders understand what mutual submission is all about. They recognize the mantle that the lead pastor carries for the congregation, and they do all they can to defer to, and support, that leader.

Great worship leaders know how to honor time limits, ask teachable questions, and share the pastor’s vision for the church in song selection and event preparation.

Great worship leaders do not push their way into worship leading or other roles—they offer their gifts, and then allow God to make a place for them to lead. They are not pushy or forceful—they are centered, and full of trust in God to make a place for their leadership.

Great worship leaders graciously receive input, and even pursue it—especially from the lead pastor and common (non-musical) worshipers in the congregation.

Great Worship Leaders ... are passionate.

The passionate will always lead, no matter the sphere or situation. Inspiring worship leaders carry a blend of passion and restraint in their toolbox. The leader’s hunger for God, evidenced in an honest and vulnerable worship leading style, is irreplaceable, and evident to all. Many dispassionate worship leaders are hired because their musical skill level can cover up for a lack of personal passion as a worshiper.

At the same time that passionate worship is the hallmark of their leadership, great worship leaders are very keen in knowing when to push the envelope in worship, and when to hold back, even when their own emotions are running high.

Great worship leaders are exhuberant, without becoming cheerleaders. In other words, they approach the moment of worship with enthusiasm, yet that enthusiasm is tempered with gentleness and a lack of need to generate outward emotion to feel that they’ve done their job.

Great worship leaders can separate their personal emotional state from what the moment calls for in the group they are leading (I don’t know that this art is learned by any other mode than longevity in worship leading experience).

Great worship leaders love God and the secret place, and worship frequently, for extended times, on their own. This is an abbreviated look at the key qualities to be sought after as we develop into the most effective lead worshipers we can be. Make it your vision to be the most effective worship leader you know, making it easy for the heart cry of the community of God to find its way out of their hearts through the music of worship, and before the One they love. Then, train others around you to seek greatness in the same high calling.

Dan Wilt is an internationally respected worship leader, songwriter, artist and conference speaker. Based out of St. Stephen's University ( ) in New Brunswick, Canada, Dan is adjunct professor of Contemporary and Emerging Worship Leadership. He is passionate about investing today's worship practice with the riches of the ancients, and the interface between the Church and culture ( ). Dan is also the editor of Inside Worship magazine, and serves as the Worship Development Coordinator for Vineyard Churches Canada. He makes his home in St. Stephen with his wife Anita, and three children, Anna, Abigail and Benjamin.