What Should a Worship Leader Look Like?

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What is a worship leader supposed to look like? Here are just three of many possible answers from 1 Peter 5:1-6.

1. Worship leaders should look like shepherds. Peter was clear in his charge: “Shepherd God’s flock among you” (1 Peter 5:2) Notice the emphasis isn’t on the public persona of the leader. Peter’s care and concern is not on outward appearance. In fact, the focus isn’t on the leader. The emphasis is on the people who are to be shepherded. Our hair style is not our ministry. Clothes are not the ministry. Music is not the ministry, and the worship service itself is not even the ministry. The people are the ministry. If we care more about how we look or we find ourselves fretting over a coolness factor in our appearance more than caring for and serving the people God has entrusted us to shepherd, we’ve missed the mark.

2. Worship leaders should lead “. . . according to God” (1 Peter 5:2) In his book, For the Glory of God, Dan Block says that means “according to the standard by which God
shepherds.” Frankly, that’s a pretty tall order. We tend to view of Psalm 23 from a
narrow lens of how Jesus shepherds us. How often do we look at it as a model for how we are to shepherd our people? In that most famous of Psalms, we see the shepherd leading, nourishing, renewing, and comforting. Those characteristics seem to me to be very intentional. They don’t happen because a worship leader looks cool. Those shepherding actions happen because there is a clear understanding they’ve been called to lead like the divine Shepherd, and everything the true Shepherd did was for the sake of others. We lead not out of concern for what people think of us (am I cool enough?), but out of a desire to serve and shepherd them toward Christ and His gospel.

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3. Worship leaders should “clothe themselves with humility.” (1 Peter 5:5). Consider the perfection of the heavenly beings worshiping around the throne at this very minute. They worship in perfect humility. What a contrast to the way I often stand up to lead. In a recent lecture lunch we hosted for our worship students, Pastor Steve Hussung said, “I’m constantly amazed at how prideful I can be over so little. When our own glory is our aim,” continued Hussung, “we falter because we aren’t glorious.” There is nothing worthy of recognition about us…especially when we lead worship. Any desire for personal glory weighs like a heavy burden. And that self-imposed, insatiable burden for glory causes us to lie about ourselves, making us seem better to others than we really are. The lack of humility leads us to be more concerned about what others think of us rather than what they think of Jesus.

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