Darlene Zschech: 10 Essential Traits of a Worship Pastor

"I believe in my heart of hearts that the worship pastor of a team does not have to be the most talented," says Darlene Zschech.

My heart leapt when I read the theme for this edition of Worship Leader magazine.  For one of my life’s greatest privileges has been serving as a worship pastor, and with this responsibility my eyes have been opened to so many different facets of what the job really requires, as opposed to what I imagined it required.
I believe in my heart of hearts that the worship pastor of a team does not have to be the most talented, the most eloquent, the most gifted writer—although to be skillful at your craft is a must. But this role is truly all about care.
The worship pastor must care that people have an understanding of why we worship and not just how we worship; the worship pastor must carry the heart of the church and its leadership tenderly with great respect and unyielding support. The worship pastor must love the team and their families more for who they are and their journey in Christ than for what they do for the church.
Yes, the worship pastor is shepherd first, musician second—a true worshiper, one who leads with skill, wisdom, and godly devotion.
I have written my Top Ten teaching thoughts for worship pastors to share with their teams—to give you some absolutes to pass on to those entrusted to your care.

1. The Worship of God Is Holy

God is not common; hence worship is not a gig, not a right to prove our abilities, not an opportunity to sing our favorite songs. We worship because he is a holy God, and we the created—made for his pleasure—worship and serve the Creator because he alone is worthy.

2. Regarding Excellence

We bring our finest, because we care that our sacrifice is truthful and brought with integrity of heart. The first fight in the Bible was about a worship offering (Gen 4), and to this day, people bicker and disagree about what is genuine worship. No matter how we present our worship, only God knows the true intent of our pursuit of him. And it is in the authentic pursuit of him that we find excellence in worship.

3. Authentic Lives of Worship

We train in so many things consistently, but nothing can replace each individual’s commitment to an authentic life as a worshiper. So that when your inner life is revealed, what is seen and what is unseen by humans is one and the same.
Bill Hybels wrote a great book called Who You Are When No One’s looking.  Work at making sure that you are one person: the person we publicly know, and the person God privately knows.

4. Serve the Lord With Gladness (Ps 100)

Gladness is not just an emotion; gladness is a byproduct of joy, which is substance, a fruit of the spirit. You can literally live on it. Joy puts others at rest.
“He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart” (Eccl 5:20).

5. Worship Is Not Just a Lifestyle.

Worship is our life’s response to the grandeur and magnificence of our God. Worship as a lifestyle sounds like we would treat the Cross of Christ casually. But our ability to enter his courts and live in his presence actually cost God his all—for us. Never treat his worship as a lifestyle option.

6. Build a Culture That Embraces the New

We see that the Levites were trained and skilled in making music before the Lord (1 Chr 25:7). Never compare or be skillful for the sake of it, yet always encourage people to be developing their gifts, to try new things, new ideas. Be vigilant to train and grow and strive for freshness in all that you have been given, for the glory of his name. As the Scripture says:
  • Sing new songs (Isa 42:10).
  • You will be called by a new name (Isa 62:2).
  • I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them (Ezek 11:19)
New songs, new day, new start, new hope, new mercy, new possibilities, new ideas, new ways, new people, God says “new heaven and a new earth,” “ new covenant,” “new self,” “new heart,” “new command,” “new creation”… new, new, new!

7. God’s Presence Is Great Power

Our role is to declare and announce that God is here. If we just play and lead to please the ears of man and satisfy our own desires to play/sing, and march into services without a holy awareness of his presence and magnificence then we rob people of their spiritual inheritance. Lead people to the courts of our God.

8. We enter “his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise” (Ps 100:4)

This sequence is God’s idea, not just the delight of all sanguines worldwide. Be confident to lead people in the high praise of our God. Announce that our God reigns.

9. Speak a Kingdom Culture

If your team knows how to play music but the culture is one of negativity, defeat, resistance, offence, pride, lack of self esteem, jealousy, even of unbelief, then your team will never grow together into a culture that is based on kingdom principles. Kingdom music is crafted in the heart of a human being who gets a glimpse—a taste —or hears the sound of the kingdom of God.

10. People of Prayer

It is a very presumptuous person who thinks you can live an effective Christian life without prayer. Prayer is our lifeline; prayer is our first language; prayer is our direct access. This is made clear in the Psalms—a magnificent book of prayers that teaches us so much about our language before our God. Enter with thanksgiving, bring him everything, love him, adore him, ask of him; this is the language of prayer. As you develop your life of prayer, you are developing your life of faith—and your life of worship.
OK lovely ones, I could pour out my heart on this topic for days, but that’s it for now. Never forget the honor it is to worship our King,
Love always, Darlene. 


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5 Ways To Connect the Generations in Worship

Is it possible to connect the multiple generations in worship?
While the answer lies primarily in the heart of each worshiper, I believe there are a number of steps you can take to ensure your church body worships in unity.
1. Expose Your Heart – Worship Leader, even if an elderly person doesn’t like your music, they will connect with a worshiper. They can see right through a fake, passionless heart that only longs to be on stage.
The heart of worship is what builds trust between the generations. Expose your heart and people will trust you to lead them.
2. Balance Your Setlists – I’ve found that when I balance loud, driving music with softer, more reflective moments, it’s possible to engage the generations. Don’t allow your worship set to drive the entire time. Balance the old with the new – the deep theology with the simple.
3. Cast Vision – My pastor does a great job of communicating the vision of why we lead worship and make music/media the way we do. Just the other day I was called over by a group of elderly women sitting in our concourse. I began to break out in a cold sweat.
“Oh, no. Here we go with the “It’s too loud we need to sing more hymns” speech. I was pleasantly surprised. One of the ladies said, “I just love so much all the young people that are on that stage. It’s wonderful to see the next generation using their talents for Jesus.”
What refreshing comment! If you cast vision for where you’re going, people will buy in, even if they disagree with the form.
4. Challenge the Young – Oftentimes the young people don’t worship as hard as they do in youth group. They feel weird surrounded by so many adults.
Challenge them from all sides. Have your youth pastor challenge them to sit together and lead the way in worship on Sunday morning. Challenge them from the stage. Have high expectations for your youth and they will rise to the challenge.
5. Listen to People – It’s easy to forget that ministry is about people. It’s not about ideas and events, performance and hustle. At its core, we are leading people, pastoring people, discipling people.
Make sure you are listening to what people are saying. Even if they disagree with what you do, thank them for speaking up. Don’t allow criticism and praise to define you, but allow it to grow you.
This is one of the greatest challenges of leading worship, but it’s such a high calling. You are called to stand before God’s people and herald his praises. You are calling forth the generations to rise up and sing the praises of God.
Worship leader, don’t lose heart. We need you.

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Are You The Kind Of Worshiper The Father Seeks?

Have you ever asked this question?
Have you ever probed the depths of your own heart and wondered, “Is my worship acceptable to God…really?”
It’s scary to think that some worship is pleasing to God and some worship is detestable. To think that I could approach the throne of Grace, lift up my voice, and bare my soul – only to be rejected.
What kind of worship does God seek?
Throughout Scripture we see the kind of worship God is seeking. It has more to do with your closet than it does the stage. It has more to do with the unseen than what is seen.
God loves singing. God loves music. But it’s not all that He is after.
Consider this:
“My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; the one whose walk is blameless will minister to me. No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence” (Psalm 101:6-7).
There’s a lot of worship buzz words in this passage that we all like to use.
Dwell with God.
Minister to Him.
Dwell in His house.
Stand in His presence.
But we tend to think that this just means hanging around the altars a little longer on Sunday morning. Maybe being in church an extra evening this week. Or having devotions for a half hour rather than 15 minutes. Can I just tell you? – it is none of this.
None of this is what God is after. Sure, they are beautiful, healthy habits. But God is seeking something deeper – worship that is stained with Kingdom action.
Worship that reaches out to the broken. Worship that obeys God. Worship that isn’t self-centered.

How to Bring Acceptable Worship

Let’s pull apart this Psalm 101 passage. It outlines three qualities of acceptable worship:
1. Pursue Faithfulness – The most passionate person isn’t always the most Godly. Just because someone can jump around, waive their hands, shout, and sing at the top of their lungs in a church service doesn’t mean they are where God wants them to be. God’s eyes are on the faithful. The steady. Those who are pursuing obedience at all costs.
2. Walk Blamelessly – God isn’t after passion. He didn’t ask you to just be “on fire” for Him. People like this travel from one Christian event to the next, seeking another spiritual “high” to carry them through life until they hit rock bottom. Rather, focus on living a blameless life. Live in such a way that nobody can point a finger at you and say, “He doesn’t life what he speaks. He’s a fake!”
3. Live Honestly – It’s easy to manipulate – to tip the scales in your favor. God searches for honesty – honesty in your words, your business dealings, and in your relationships. It’s not just about songs. Want to stand in God’s presence? Speak the truth.
Consider this:
“I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 6:21-24).
How would you like to be greeted on Sunday afternoon (after all your hard work) with, “Take away from me the noise of your songs. I’m not listening.”
Again, God is after something deeper.
Look at this:
“This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:8-9).
The heart.
How close is your heart? You may say all the right things and know all the churchy phrases, but where is the position of your heart? Far? Or right up close to the heart of God?
I don’t know about you, but I want the eyes of God to be on me. When he looks at my life, I want him to see a faithful, blameless, honest heart – a heart that acts justly, loves mercy, and walks humbly with God.
God sees all things at all times but His eyes aren’t on all things at all times. Like our passage in the Psalms – His eyes are on the faithful. They have His full attention.
Live in such a way that you capture the full attention of God (tweet this).
“The true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in Truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks” (John 4:23).

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How Do You Improve The Technical And Emphasize The Spiritual?

There’s a tension we worship leaders face each and every week.
Sometimes it’s paralyzing. Stressful.
We want to worship God, but we also want to sound awesome.
We want to the church to sing, but we also want to do our favorite songs.
We want the glory of God, but we also want to progress in our creativity.
So often, its either one or the other.
It seems that our identities are easily wrapped up in our performance. At the end of a worship service I’m content with a good performance.
Sang well? Check.
Stayed on the click track? Check.
Band was tight? Check.
All important.
The technical and the spiritual. We already know this should be a balance. You can’t have one without the other.
But how does balance happen? How can you be spiritually in tune and also technically excellent?

4 Balancing Tips

Here are a few tips:
1. Emphasize What You Tend to Neglect – Some of you are gear heads. You love talking about the latest guitar pedal, drum shell, compressor, and can talk for hours about the circuitry of a bass amp. Or, at the end of a worship service you can deconstruct your performance and articulate to a “t” what you could have done better.
But if I asked you the question, “What did you see God doing?” or “Did we serve our congregation well?”, you fall silent. Begin to emphasize the spiritual. Or maybe you have spiritual passion but lack understanding when it comes to your instrument. Start to emphasize the technical.
2. Teach the Spiritual in the Midst of the Technical – If all you do is bark technical orders and your “spiritual” time consists of a quick 30 second prayer before stepping on stage, something is wrong. Spiritual truth should permeate your practical rehearsal.
Don’t compartmentalize. Teach truth when you rehearse. Create a culture where your team pursues God during practice.
3. Rehearse the Spiritual – I know you need to have the songs ready for Sunday. I know you want to avoid a musical train wreck where the whole church is laughing, rolling, and pointing the finger at you. But have you ever thought to rehearse the spiritual aspects of what you do?
Rehearse worshiping. As a team, get comfortable seeking God together. Rehearse declaring truth. Rehearse your stage presence. Musical excellence is only half the battle.
4. Get Outside the Box – Something that’s healthy for worship teams is to do something outside the box. Organize activities where you can step away from the stage, from rehearsal, from the routine. Go on a missions trip together. Visit a nursing home. Worship in a team member’s house.
Activities like this help your team catch a vision for God’s kingdom on the earth. It goes beyond music and roots people in the church and what God is doing.
What would you add to this list? How can we do a better job balancing the technical and spiritual?
This blog is all about conversation and I want to hear from you!
Let’s get some discussion going.

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LWP#1: Justine Paolo Gadiano Parcasio

Last week, I contacted a friend of mine, whom long ago I found because of the social networking site Facebook, isn't that great and awesome?

I selected him as the pilot/ first lead worshipper whose profile is to be featured here in my worship blog. Thank GOD, he responded so quickly!

His profile goes like this...

Current City/Location: Baguio City, Philippines
Church: Grace Communion International - Baguio City/La Trinidad Church
Denomination: Grace Communion International
Years leading worship: 2 years
Active members: 60-70 members
Favorite Worship song: Our God by Chris Tomlin
Instrument(s) you play: Guitar
Favorite Worship song: Our God by Chris Tomlin
Instrument(s) you play: Guitar
Last two books read:“Hearing and Understanding the Voice of God” Compiled by Frank A, DeCenso Jr.
and “The Shack Revisited” by C. Baxter Kruger PH.D.

Q1: How would you describe the set up of your church?

-Our local church usually use the “ Blended Style” of worship where the songs are a combination of hymns and contemporary songs representing the different generations of the church family.

Q2: Please share your journey to becoming a lead worshipper.

-My journey as a worship leader started when I was a child, when my parents bring me to church regularly (this is what Proverbs 22:6 is all about). Since childhood, my parents encouraged me to render a “special music” at church with my sister or even with my whole family. And as I grew up, I came to know the Lord Jesus Christ on April 21, 2004 through my aunt Auey at the age of 9 and on December 26 on the same year, I got baptized. From then on, I started attending praise and worship concerts of Darlene Zschech live in Manila last 2010, Hillsong United Aftermath Tour last 2011 and other local Christian concerts. In our church, I started joining the worship team as a back-up singer until our senior pastor asked and encouraged me to lead worship. My first time to lead worship was during the Pastoral Team’s Conference on May, 2011, which was held at Teacher’s Camp, Baguio City. The second time was last year, June 10, 2012 during our church’s 36th Anniversary which was held in a resort on top of the mountain. Since then, I was continually assigned as a worship leader at least once a month. I am so excited for the things God has prepared for my future as a worship leader/lead worshipper.

Q3: I know you have a unique working relationship with your pastor, why is this important for pastors and lead worshipper to cultivate?

-It is very important for a worship leader to cultivate a good relationship because the pastor serves as the father and shepherd of the church. It is always right to consult and seek spiritual wisdom from the pastor every now and then about your worship line-ups like the songs and scriptures. 

Q4: What type of tech tools are you using in your church?

-Laptop, LCD projector, instruments and sound system.

Q5: What are some of your favorite worship resources?
-Our church’s hymnal (WCG/GCI Hymnal).
-GCI Manila’s Worship Lyrics Compilation (for power point slides, song chords and lyrics)
-Various Christian CDs and DVDs.
                                                         - (for song searches)
Q6: What is the biggest lesson you have learned in leading worship?

-The biggest lesson I’ve learned in leading worship is that for me not to focus on myself as a worship leader but to focus and depend on the ultimate and perfect worship leader who is the Lord Jesus Christ. When your focus is on the Lord Jesus Christ, all the worries, hindrances and imperfections will disappear and worship will be a genuine expression of our love for God.

Sample Praise and Worship set


-We Praise Thee O God, Our Redeemer (Hymnal)
-Kay Buti Buti Mo Panginoon
-Give Us Clean Hands (Chris Tomlin)
-Great Thy Faithfulness



                OFFERTORY SONG: (Special Music)
                                -Ang Dakilang Katapatan


                CLOSING SONGS:
                                -For You Alone (Don Harris)
                                -You are good (Israel Houghton)


My final words and advices to aspiring and new lead worshippers

---For aspiring and new lead worshippers, it is very important to set a time solely devoted for you and God. This is the time where you seek God through prayer, reading His word and even singing the songs you have chosen for your worship set/line-up as a your personal worship. It is also important to have time for you as a worship team to practice at least once a week. In our church, our worship team meets regularly every Wednesday, the time used to practice the songs and take time to pray for each other. When you do this regularly, you allow the Holy Spirit to train, teach, equip, correct and soak you with His presence personally and the group as a worship team in your worship leading journey. . . amazing journey!!!

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Lead Worshipper Profiles

Starting this week, I will start a "program" in this blog..

and it is the...

YES!, the LEAD WORSHIPPER PROFILES, you read it right from the title :)

Every month I will post different profiles of different lead worshipper to post it here in my blog. Its main purpose is to know them and to get different advices and insights from them for us to learn from.

So, are you ready? GET READY! :)

If you know a lead worshipper who is willing to share to us his/her profile, kindly contact me in my e-mail:

Many Thanks & Blessings!

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Worship Leader or Lead Worshipper?

Louie Giglio, who is the founder of the Passion conferences, recently sat down for an interview with Worship Musician magazine. Among other subjects he covered, he touched on the issue of keeping the artists who are part of the Passion conferences focused on worship. His perspective offers both encouragement and challenge to anyone who leads worship:
Inverting the words “worship leader” to “lead worshipper” helped me enormously. A worship leader is primarily concerned with leading something, meaning, my main focus is leading you. So I’m up here playing the whole time, trying to figure out how you’re doing. Oh, Bruce isn’t with me, I’ve got to crank the tempo up; I’ve got to get some more volume. Let’s do “Undignified.” Come on, I’ve got to get Bruce going! You know how it works: There could be a thousand people in the room, but if Bruce isn’t with me, I’m missing the 999 and I’m totally on Bruce. That’s all I can think about.
But if I invert the words and become a lead worshipper, my primary focus isn’t leading you; that’s my secondary focus. My primary focus is worshipping. I’m a lead worshipper. I want to be the first guy in the room worshipping God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. Now I’m not disinterested in Bruce, because I’m here as a psalmist, and part of my responsibility is to lead him into the presence of God. (That’s mostly the Holy Spirit’s job, but He’s going to use me as a vessel.) So I’m going to come back and check on Bruce periodically, in between my worshipping, to see how he’s doing. But I’m a lead worshipper, so I’m going to leave today saying, Somebody flat-out worshipped today, and I know it was me.
The other extreme is the guy who closes his eyes and lifts his hands and never checks on anybody the whole time he leads. They could have all gone home, while he was over there worshipping. That’s not good. But the preoccupation with how are you feeling? How are you feeling me? How are you doing with the songs? How can I make this work for you? That, to me, gets burdensome.
It’s easy for someone who is leading worship to get so caught up in the leading that they forget to worship. I’ve done it many times myself. The challenge is for the leaders to be leading by the example of worship. If the leader is worshipping then others are more likely to worship, too.

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His mercies are new every morning!

It's been a long time. I hope and I pray everyone in the world is in a very good condition, specially YOU, yes YOU who took time to read this, thank you for setting a time to visit my blog.

I became silent this past few days because of some reasons, first--there is no internet connection in my place (WHAT!!???), second--my notebook is still dead because of some internal/ technical problems (hayzzss..), and third, I got sick :(

but THANK YOU LORD.. a BIG statement of Thank You to our LORD JESUS--MY HEALER, my Jehovah Rophe. Thank You for the fast recovery.

because of this, I want to share this very powerful declaration of God's unwavering faithfulness to me and to us all.. maybe you are very aware of this:

Thank You very much, O GOD for your FAITHFULNESS!

Have a Blessed Week ahead! :)

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