About a month ago I was asked by another youth leader how to prepare students to lead “worship.”  This youth leader was very concerned about the lack of consideration and depth in the song selection.  This is a great question that plagues many youth groups.

In response to that question, here are a few initial thoughts to help song leaders think through their song selections. This does not guarantee quality musicianship. Actually, it doesn’t guarantee anything! However, it should encourage thoughtful reflection.

Let me know what you think and if things should be tweaked.

  1. What are your songs?
  2. Why did you choose these songs?
  3. Summarize each song in a sentence.
  4. How are these songs fit together (key, tempo, flow, topic, other)?
  5. What would be a key verse to support this song?

To be sure, the last one will be a bit more of a challenge. Maybe it shouldn’t be in this list of questions.  I’m concerned because this question, #5, could also lend itself to some prooftexting and improper use of Scripture.  It will, however, encourage some thinking!

Overall, I think the best way to equip someone is to have them mentored by another worship leader so that the process can be caught as they spend time together preparing things.  It is definitely a trial and error experience.  They will need someone to talk them through what’s going on, to answer questions, to encourage them when things go well (and when they don’t).  Most importantly, it will be helpful to have another mature believer (hopefully) with common interests to share life with.

What do you do to prepare your student leaders?

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One of the things that I love to do is lead music at our church. I play guitar, work with a band and singers, and organize the songs that we sing on Sunday mornings. Recently, though, something hit me as I was preparing to lead music.

I was working through our set list and I was stuck on a transition between two songs. There was some problem with the key or with the tempo that just didn’t seem to work with the flow. So I did what I always do. I decided to pray as a transition.

Then it hit me…

I was using prayer, conversation with God, as a transitional/musical element within a time of praise and adoration. I was taking the privilege of speaking with the Creator and reducing it to a substitution for creative arranging.

That has stuck with me and I’m not sure I have a good response to it. However, it has challenged me with several different questions.

1) Is it appropriate to use prayer transitionally during “worship?”
2) When we pray transitionally are we setting appropriate examples?
3) What does this reveal about my own prayer life?

For all you worship leaders out there, what do you do?

For everyone else, I welcome your comments!