What Is A Worship Leader?

 by Rick Pidcock

Over the last few years, perhaps nobody has shaped my understanding of worship as has Bob Kauflin of Sovereign Grace Ministries.  Currently, he is working on a book for young corporate worship leaders such as myself.

In a recent blog article, Bob defined a worship leader as the following.

“A faithful worship leader
magnifies the greatness of God
in Jesus Christ
through the power of the Holy Spirit,
skillfully combining God’s Word
with music,
thereby motivating the gathered church
to proclaim the Gospel,
cherish God’s presence,
and live for God’s glory.”

Let’s just focus in on a few aspects of this definition.  First, “A faithful worship leader magnifies the greatness of God in Jesus Christ.”  In Christ, the fullness of God dwells bodily (Col. 1:19).  Thus, the only way we can know God both for salvation and for sanctification is through the God-man, Christ.  This is why it is important for worship leaders to keep Christ at the center of every worship service.

The second phrase says, “Through the power of the Holy Spirit.”  We cannot divorce the intercession, gifting, and fruit of the Spirit from worship.  If not for the Spirit’s intercession, our prayers would be unworthy.  If not for the Spirit’s gifting, the corporate worship body would crumble.  If not for the Spirit’s fruit, our whole-life worship would be non-existent.  Thus, a worship leader must worship “through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

The next phrase says, “Skillfully combining God’s Word with music.”  Worship is often referred to as “revelation and response.”  God reveals Himself to us. Then we respond in worship.  This is why it is so vital to saturate our worship services with the Word of God.  Colossians 3:16 says that the preface to a gospel-centered worship service is letting the Word of God dwell in us richly.

Finally, Bob says, “Thereby motivating the gathered church to proclaim the Gospel, cherish God’s presence, and live for God’s glory.”  What a beautiful way to connect Gospel-centered corporate worship to Gospel-centered whole-life worship.  Every worshiper during every gathering must understand how worship transcends the worship service, and finds its way into every moment of our lives throughout the week.  Proclaiming the gospel is something that we can do through the way we live.  Cherishing God’s presence can be done on the job, during that family crisis, or as you lay your head down each night.  Living for God’s glory is the definition of whole-life worship.  And all of that must be encouraged by the worship leader.

If you really think about it, we are all worship leaders.  Of course, we may not all be on stage every Sunday morning.  But we all have somebody who looks up to us for guidance and encouragement.  So spend a few moments thinking about who those people are.  And then evaluate how you are leading them towards becoming whole-life worshipers as you interact with them.

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