Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Over the past few months, I've seen numerous friends and colleagues within worship ministry face tremendous challenge.

Some are fighting to hold their families together.
Some are struggling to find their identity in ministry.
Some are trying to lead churches in crisis.

My heart breaks for worship leaders feeling ill-equipped and out of touch.

Today and tomorrow, we're discussing leading worship in times of tragedy. My prayer is that these thoughts and suggestions will encourage those that lead worship and encourage them to stay faithful and to never stop growing!

For today's post, we'll talk a little bit about how worship leaders can prepare for times of trouble. What can you do now - when things are okay - that will be a blessing later on during trial.

None of us want to be dealing with family issues or church politics or illness, but we're only hurting ourselves if we don't reserve some mental space for the inevitability of days that will impact the church. It may sound dark, but once or twice a month, spend some time thinking through how you'd lead the church during a hard time - the loss of a staff member, financial instability, or even problems of a more personal nature like marital struggle or illness. Nobody wants to dwell on problems, but being willing to face the possibility expands your ability to face it head on.

Get very practical. Look at your song catalog and your service order. What if you got the call today to lead worship at a funeral at the church? Would you have songs for that? What if 2 or 3 public marriages in the church were falling apart? What sort of scripture and prayer would you have to offer? The lack of resources poses a huge danger to a church already in trial. If your church lacks songs and sermons and resources for times like these, add them now. Don't be afraid to teach these songs or service elements to your people - use that as a time to instruct and encourage! It's a powerful way to remind people that God's power and provision are enough for us when we're struggling.

I know my readership pretty well, and I can safely say that none of us lead worship at megachurches. And most of us don't lead in teeny tiny churches. No, most of us are in mid-sized churches. But if we're honest, we'd admit that even the mid-size church is too big for us to keep up with. That's why it's important that we stay involved with our congregation. Join a life group, talk to folks after service, pop in during Sunday School - find some way to stay in touch with the people. You won't be able to know everybody and what they're going through, but you might be surprised when the time comes and you have a personal relationship with someone struggling. It will immediately allow you to lead the church (and those people) as a pastor and a friend.

Tomorrow, we'll talk about leading worship in the middle of crisis. As for today, though, I'd love to know what you think. What other ways can we 'prepare' for trial?