worship leader

What is Worship Leading? (Part One)

While it’s important to talk about the technical details in our creative processes, nothing is more important than having a solid, Biblical understanding of why we do what we do. In the next two articles, we’re going to look at worship leading. Before we look at the process of leading itself, we need to understand what worship is. I love this thought by Bob Kauflin:

Worship matters. It matters to God because he is the one ultimately worthy of all worship. It matters to us because worshiping God is the reason for which we were created. And it matters to every worship leader, because we have no greater privilege than leading others to encounter the greatness of God. That’s why it’s so important to think carefully about what we do and why we do it. (Bob Kauflin: Worship Matters)

I couldn’t agree more! So what exactly is worship?

Worship is a response.

If you’ve been following The Complete Church Creative for a while now, you will have noticed our “Theology” section. At first glance, it may seem odd to include theology in a website about creativity, but it’s vitally important. Every moment of our lives (including our church services) is a response to who God is, and what he has done (and doing) in our lives. If we don’t truly strive to understand God’s immense love for us, how can we respond to him in a way that is appropriate?

If we don’t truly strive to understand God’s immense love for us, how can we respond to him in a way that is appropriate?

This is why it’s important to know who God is and to understand the power of the gospel. In order to both worship and lead others in worship effectively, these are critical truths to understand, so don’t forget to head to the Theology section if you want to learn more.

The more we start to comprehend how incredible God is, the more in awe of him we become. How could we not be in awe of our Creator who holds the very molecules of the universe together with a single thought?! As we covered in an article on the importance of creativity in the church, that sense of awe and reverence is one important aspect of worship.

However, this reaction alone is not enough. It should move us to action. Our understanding of God should cause us to serve him with everything that we have. God sent his only son to die in place of our sins, and, by doing so, Jesus made a way for us to be reconciled to God. How can we not serve him with everything we have?! In fact, any other reaction to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords would be illogical! Therefore, to worship God is to be so moved by his immeasurable love and the power of the gospel that we strive to give glory to him in all that we do.

Rightful worship requires our best

In the Old Testament, an integral part of worship was giving physical offerings to God in the form of sacrifices. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, things have changed. God requires us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to God as part of our worship (Romans 12:1). But don’t worry, that doesn’t mean that we are to set fire to ourselves or anything like that. It means that God wants us to give him our best for his glory in all we do.

The first offering given to God can be found in Genesis 4. It’s clear from that early moment with Cain and Abel that God desires our best. Whether it’s with music, our finances or any other forms of worship, it’s not enough to give God our leftovers. He deserves nothing less than the best we have to offer. The worship of God should be our starting point and not our last resort.

But isn’t worship about singing?

In many church circles, the word worship is synonymous with the time of singing during a church service. Singing was an important part of both Old Testament worship and New Testament worship. We are encouraged to sing (Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19). Mary sings in worship to God (Luke 1). Paul and Silas worship through song in prison (Acts 16). Even Jesus sings a hymn after the Last Supper (Matthew 26).

In short, singing is important. The role of singing in the church should not be undervalued. As we’ll talk about in part two, the role of “worship leader” is most commonly associated with music on a Sunday. However, if we only think of a worship leader as being the lead singer of a band, we woefully miss the point. This is why it’s important to understand what worship is before we discuss what a worship leader does. In the next installment, we’ll get more specific.


Systematic Theology – Wayne Grudem
Worship Matters – Bob Kauflin


Leave a Reply