Worship Leader Discussions (Newsletter 4-2)

Worship Leader Discussions
Eric Roberts

While attending a Seminar4Worship, they had a question and answer panel with some of the leading worship leaders and teachers in the nation. Below is an overview of the session as I remember it. There are some great nuggets in this session for worship leaders, new musicians and worship teams. When I could remember who specifically said something, I noted their names. These are worship leaders and teachers that are leading the modern worship movement through their local church. The face the same issues as every other worship leader in terms of team building, set lists, burn out and being an authentic Christ follower and worshiper.

Worship leaders on the panel are:
Mia Fields – Hillsong Worship Leader
Ross Parsley – Desperation Band and New Life Worship Band
Dr. Pete Sanchez – Worship Leader, author of the song “I Exalt Thee”
Nate and Eric – Worship leaders from Lakeview Church (Integrity)
Joel Auge – Worship Leader (Integrity)

What makes a good worship leader?
Pete Sanchez: Chemistry and FAITHFULNESS and ability to see that it’s not all about me.

Clothe yourself with humility. If you do not humble yourself, God will.
You have to choose to be humble. Pride sneaks in on you.

Ross Parsley: Being connected to a church is the essence of a good worship leader.

Ross Parsley: Relationships in Church build a foundational character that is needed in every Christian and in every worship leader.

Mia Fields: Do things for other people. Keep PEOPLE in focus.

There are two main elements… People and God

Be selfless… like Christ.

Church ministry is a place where people get too much pride.

Mia Fields: Have to teach to be a servant. Don’t give too much too quick to any one person. Make even the talented musicians be roadies or set up the stage. Teaching and building within your team an environment for servant leadership. In fact, even some of the best young Hillsong musicians are called up to go on tour with Unites and be roadies their first year. They may lead worship one night, but the rest of the time they work the merchandise table and set up the gear.

Know (really KNOW) those who labor among you.
Lay hold on no man suddenly. Take time to build relationships and team and responsibility within your team.

Having a hard time finding musicians:

Pete Sanchez: God resources what he starts?
It is the QUALITY not the QUANTITY of musicians in your church that counts.


Faith sees something that can be… not what is. So, if you don’t have a drummer yet, put an empty drum set on the platform. Someone will come.

Get people involved:
Ross Parsley: How do you get better at your craft?
The answer is PRACTICE… WRONG!
You get better by EVALUATION and PRACTICE.
A musician with no direction and evaluation will practice wrong, learn bad habbits and never reach their full potential.

Discipleship and Evaluation in relations happens only by permission.

You should ask your team for permission to evaluate and disciple them in certain appropriate areas.

Speaking the TRUTH in LOVE – Ephesians 4:15

“I need your permission to be critical, so that we can grow and dig deeper”

Mia Fields: After an audition or an evaluation, it is easier to tell them NO than to say nothing at all.

Ross Parsley: No surprises in the process for auditions and involvement into the ministry. Make clear guidelines and follow them.

How to avoid BURN OUT!

It is a fact that many worship leaders and musicians will face the dreaded burn out. It is a serious problem and it is a place where the devil wants you to operate from. He wants you to feel discouraged and be ineffective in leading worship. Here are some tips for avoiding this and for putting up defenses against burn out.

One worship leader in the audience said, “I am tired, depressed and don’t know how what I am doing is even making a difference. I feel like quitting.”

Mia Fields: Have a Mary and Martha service mentality:

Your Mary service will be one in which you sit in service and are fed and are able to worship without distraction.

Your Martha service will be one in which you serve (outside of your up front music position). For example: help in the nursery, run sound, be stage manager or light tech for the day. But do something that isn’t about using your direct music gift UP FRONT!

Book for recommended reading: The Rest of God by mark Buchnan

Pete Sanchez: At one point in my ministry when I was tired and ready to quit I heard a word from God… “the reason you can’t do everything is because you can’t do everything.”

Ross Parsley: We are not god at obeying the Sabbath. The Sabbath is about rest and play and being who you are. You need to learn how to obey the Sabbath in your soul.

The mentality “if I don’t then IT won’t” is a bad place to be.

Each one of is replaceable in just seconds.

You need to find a place of rest where you don’t feel the pressure. God loves his people more than you do. He is going to make a way for them to meet with him.

Set Lists: How to prepare them and how to navigate them.

Acts 2:42 – We come to worship to pray to hear the word in a believers meeting.

Myth busted: The song set does not have to match the sermon
Ross Parsley: Keys to a good set list is TRANSITION! Practice Tops and Tails.

Awkward ( or venerable) moments are good in worship but not 5 awkward moments in every set.

Mia Fields: We do set lists in seasons. Not just trying to fit songs with sermons but with a season in our church. The band learns a set of songs and can play any song in that set at any time when called upon. This gives us flexibility to be spontaneous and use a song if it fits with the sermon.


Ross Parsley: Building tension and release in your songs and in your set. Every great set list has this. Begin to plan the journey in the tension and release.

Within a 20-30 min set, find the tension and release. It is that 1 moment that people just decide to jump on the train or not. You want that moment to happen as early as possible.

Take them from were they are to where they can be… in worship.

Shout to the Lord is a great example of a song with Tension and Release. That section right after the verse that climbs to the chorus creates tension and then the resolution and open up to the chorus is the release.

Tension: let everything, all that I do, never cease to worship you……… Shout (release)

Mia Fields: When you find those moments (when people begin to connect with God) DO NOT BE AFRAID to STAY there for a little while.

Leave SPACES to allow people to connect with God.


Great resource for teaching you worship team about worship and going deeper is from Ross Parsley from New Life Worship Church. Conversations of Biblical Worship. DVD Series.

Noted and Written by Eric Michael Roberts from discussion pannel. October 17, 2008

The above article, “Worship Leader Discussions” was written by Eric Roberts. The article was excerpted from www.8cordsonline.wordpress.com web site. October 2008.

The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.

This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”