Importance of Evaluation Step 2
Easy Basic Steps on How to Be a Good Worship Leader
Step 2: Evaluate
Prayer is the number one key as we talked about in our first step on how to be a Good Worship Leader. Next, we need to do some evaluation. If we want to have a good Spirit-filled program that will lead others to Christ, we must realize that there is a cost to this happening. Just as prayer takes effort, so will some assessment of our surroundings.
In reviewing the needs of our congregation, we must not fail to include all generations. I was raised in a church that used strictly the hymnal, and we did use a few chorus. We held the songbook and heads were buried in a book making it more difficult to really worship. We had a song leader who was a elderly man and knew nothing about leading worship other than to pick three hymns, get up and sing them waving his hands around some – no offense meant here either. He was a godly man who loved to sing. When he was finally replaced due to taking up so much time talking up front, he was hurt. I felt bad for him, but was in no position to do anything about it other than to be his friend.
The music had no theme and you went from one topic quickly to another without any type of transitions or smoothness in change of keys. After each hymn the music stopped, a new song was announced stopped, and we all waited for everyone to find the page. Worship was interrupted until the musicians (I for one) began the next song. Sometimes, we would be asked if someone had a song they wanted to request. Once in a while the song leader announced a song that no one knew including the pianist and organist. But we all attempted to sing and worship. We were not given any songs in advance to prepare as musicians.
It is important to consider the congregation, what age the congregation is, and how they have been used to worshiping. Elderly find it difficult to stand for a long time. Consideration should be given for them. Some have bad knees or legs, tire easy, and get out of breath. Middle age and younger generation are much more apt to stand in worship. Although standing is the best posture for singing, consideration is important for these elderly in worship. You may want to have a break between a couple songs for their benefit that will allow them to sit. Also, too much up, down, up, down, up, down is not considerate either. Arrange your music so that is limited.
Elderly love to sing to old hymns of the church. These are the songs they know, love, and feel they must have in order to worship. Respect that! Include them in your selection of contemporary music. They may not even realize that some of the words are actually not completely doctrinally correct (if you check the scripture), or that they are singing too much doctrine to absorb at one time for new converts and guests. The many verses can be tiresome especially when you sing 3-4 hymns with 4-5 verses each. That is too much for a Sunday morning worship service. People cannot learn words and carry them home with them if they are newcomers or new converts. These hymns may be meaningful to some, but too much for others.
Using short choruses are important that praise God and give a good message of living for him with fewer words. As you repeat these several times, people get to know them and feel confident in singing. They will find themselves singing them on the way home, at work, humming them during the day and find God’s presence near.
When people turn on the radio anymore today, they will hear all kinds of new songs. Some are more popular than others. We must remember that God is still using people today to write lyrics – that are good ones. We can carefully incorporate these into our music selections along with the hymns. Teaching a new song once a month is good for our brains, keeping us sharp in using our own music skills, and bringing something refreshing to our congregations. Younger generations enjoy new music and this is what they will listen to when they turn on the radio.
As we pray and evaluate, ask God to help you be open to learning new music, to consider and evaluate what age groups and needs you have in your congregation. Ask him to help you incorporate this wisely using hymns and some newer contemporary music to meet the interest of all your people. Rather they are elderly, middle, or young; all need to be open minded to learning new music and all need to consider others rather than just what please themselves.
© Rev. Jeanne McIntosh April 2011