Spiritual Growth and Christian Living Resources

Please Help Provide Clean Water to Persecuted Christians

Worship Matters: The Character of a Worship Leader

  • Bob Kauflin Director of Worship Development, PDI Ministries
  • Published Jun 30, 2003
Worship Matters:  The Character of a Worship Leader

Q: We have a team of three worship leaders at our church. A fourth leader stepped down two years ago because he wasn't happy with the church leader. Since then we have been sharing the task between the three of us very successfully.

The leader who stepped down now wants to return and lead worship once a month. He is an accomplished musician and we are happy for him to return. However, he is not prepared to come to rehearsals on the weeks we are leading, but will play on the Sunday. He does not want to involve us in "his week" and doesn't want to use other members of the worship team on the rotation.

He is not interested in sharing the vision set by the church minister. He has caused a lot of upset in the past, but we are prepared to give him another chance. How do we persuade him to become part of a team, when he isn't interested in that?

A: Thank you so much for your e-mail. God is pleased with your desire to sort this out in a way that honors Him.

Serving in a leadership position in the church of Jesus Christ is not something we can choose to do on our own terms. God spells out specific qualifications for leaders in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. While those are meant for elders in the church, those who lead corporate worship should attain to similar standards.

The first characteristic of a leader is that he knows how to follow other leaders humbly. It doesn't sound as though the leader you're speaking of is in that place. Jesus makes clear what kind of leaders He is seeking in Matthew 20:25-28.

"You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

If this leader has no interest in sharing your vision, using other members of the team, or coming to rehearsals, he's in no place to lead God's people in giving Him honor.

It's gracious of you to want to "give him another chance." However, what he needs most is clear instruction on the state of his heart and God's provision for him through the gospel. I would encourage your pastor to set up some time with him to explain what God's standards of leadership are. Your pastor should offer him specific examples of how he has not demonstrated those qualities in his life. From there, he needs to pursue a knowledge of his own sin, the wonderful mercy and forgiveness God has provided through the gospel, and the many means of grace God has given us in His Word, the church, prayer, etc. I'd encourage him to read books like The Enemy Within (Kris Lundgaard), The Discipline of Grace (Jerry Bridges), and Humility (Andrew Murray).

Anyone who wants to lead worship must be a "lead worshiper." At this point your ex-worship leader seems more concerned with his own glory than God's. It would be counterproductive to give a place of leadership to such a man, regardless of his musical gifting. An unskilled, but humble, musician brings glory to God where a skilled, but proud one, cannot.

May God give you wisdom in this process, and raise up many musicians in your church who recognize there is nothing they have that they did not receive (1Co 4:7).


Recommended Resources from Bob:

The Call of the Christian Musician Video by Bob Kauflin. This video was recorded on August 8, 2002, during a main-session message that Bob gave at the third annual A Passion for the Glory of God worship conference, held in Gaithersburg, MD.  Christian musicians are a diverse group. But amidst the diversity, one thing is held in common-we are Christians first and musicians second. In this message, Bob teaches that, whatever the context, the call of the Christian musician is to faithfully make music that reflects a grateful servant's response to the gospel.  Downloadable outline and three-minute preview video here.  Available in both DVD (with bonus footage) and VHS.


Bob Kauflin is Director of Worship Development for Sovereign Grace Ministries.