"Pastors sometimes ask me what to look for in selecting a worship leader. Although the choice of a worship leader should ultimately rest with the Lord-and He may surprise us sometimes-good worship leaders usually have certain qualities." --Ron Kenoly

By Ron Kenoly

1. Radically saved and consistently walking with Christ. Some churches, feeling desperate to improve their musical sound, may feel tempted to appoint worship leaders who have little or no spiritual foundation. While musical ability and experience can be a great asset, it should not be made more important than a person's character and relationship with God.

2. A dedicated student of the Bible. Not every popular Christian song or praise chorus is in line with God's Word. The worship leader needs enough of a biblical foundation to discern whether the material he or she is feeding the people is theologically sound.

3. Able to lend others in prayer. From time to time, those on the worship team will inevitably come to the leader for prayer about problems. Problems that aren't effectively "prayed though' can cause a heaviness that hinders worship. Worship teams should pray something like this before a service, "Lord, we lay everything down that would distract us from worshipping You." With all burdens cast upon the Lord, they can then go out and lead the congregation into God's presence.

4. A bold leader. If the worship leader is scared when he or she stands before the people, the congregation will feel uncomfortable and find it difficult to enter in worship. People more readily follow leaders who exude confidence and seem to know what they're doing. Worship leaders need to be willing to exercise authority in a variety of situations: telling people it's time to stop talking and start worshipping; discerning whether the tongues or prophecy voiced in a meeting is of God; or handling someone whose exuberance is becoming an unnecessary distraction to others.

5. A skilled musician or singer. David appointed musicians who were skilled. That does not mean a degree in music is needed; but bad notes and out-of tune singing should be avoided as much as possible. Poor musical quality is a distraction and hinders people from worshipping. Too many Christian musicians act as if they are so spiritual they don't need to work on their skills or practice their songs.

6. Submissive to authority. Many churches have been damaged by worship leaders who had their own agendas. Worship leading is a subordinate ministry. God has placed pastors over us. Those who think they lead worship better than the pastor preaches need remember Lucifer's similar deception. Nothing is more dangerous than being puffed up with pride. A worship leader needs to get to know the pastor's personality, favorite songs, and vision for the church. Communication is vital. The pastor should be made aware of any particular challenges faced in the music department. The worship leader needs to be in tune with what is being preached so the songs can reinforce the messages. Worship leaders need to take pains to maintain harmonious relationships with their pastors. They must be loyal and always put their pastors in a favorable light before their congregations.

7. Worship. An effective worship leader is not just someone who is a good musician or singer and who leads people in singing songs. Leading others in worship requires, first of all, being a worshipper. As we genuinely and passionately worship the Lord, others will be ushered into His presence, too.

Reprinted by permission of Ministries Today, Strang Communications (USA)


{{Ron Kenoly}} serves as worship leader at Jubilee Christian Center in San Jose, CA. He is the author of Lifting Him Up (Creation House) and the featured worship leader on numerous Hosanna! Music albums such as "Lift Him Up," "God Is Able," "Sing Out" and "Majesty." Ron and his wife Tavita have three sons. In addition, the couple sponsor several children through WorldVision, an organization for which Ron serves as a spokesman.