If you were raised in church, congregational worship is normal.
You know the ropes – raising your hands, singing, bowing down before God. But for many in our churches today, this is completely foreign.
And to be honest, a little weird.
It’s not that people are disengaged.
It’s not that they hate your songs. It’s not that they don’t want to worship.
They just don’t know how.
Think about it. Many of the people in your worship services have never been in church before.
They don’t know Christ. They don’t understand the lingo. They don’t know your worship songs. They don’t understand why you’re so happy or why your hands are in the air.
As a worship leader, you have a responsibility to teach people. It’s not about the smoothness of your setlist, the rock and roll of your voice, and the dynamics of your stage presence.
If people aren’t with you, you’re not leading. And for people to be with you, you have to teach them.
3 Tips for Teaching Your Congregation How to Worship
When I say “teacher”, I don’t mean getting your PHD in worship studies and spending the rest of your life in a classroom. I also don’t assume you have the spiritual gift of teaching.
I’m simply saying you need to be mindful of who’s in your audience and helping them understand what is going on.
Here are a few tips for you to apply as a teacher of your congregation.
1. Be A Worshiper - You may think I could have avoided this one. But there’s probably many times you lead worship but don’t worship. I know I’m guilty. I can be so focused on leading people that I’m not mindful of God – His glory, His nearness, His beauty. But in order to engage the room, you have to engage with God. Your “lost in wide-eyed wonder” worship will be the catalyst that frees people to do the same.
2. Explain Biblical Postures of Worship - When you lead worship, be high on explanation. Don’t just raise your hands, show them its place in Scripture. Never assume people understand what is happening. Model and explain the different Biblical postures of worship.
Here’s a quick reference guide:
Clapping – “Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!” – Psalm 47:1Hand raising – “I will lift up my hands towards your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes.” – Psalm 119:48Shouting – “Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright.” – Psalm 33:1Dancing – Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!” – Psalm 150:4Kneeling – “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!” – Psalm 95:6Bowing – “I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.” – Psalm 138:2Singing – “Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!” – Psalm 100:2
3. Help People Relax
You can’t avoid it. People will always feel awkward in worship services. It’s your job to minimize that awkwardness. In nearly every worship service I try and speak to those people in the room who aren’t used to it. I say things like:
- “If you’re not used to this sort of worship, just relax.”
- “If you feel comfortable, let’s raise our hands to the Lord.”
The best worship leaders create a comfortable environment. They demystify. They set people at ease. They take their public speaking and their people skills seriously.
As you seek to improve your worship leadership, don’t just focus on the performance of your band and the selection of your songs. Also work on explaining, teaching, and helping people relax.
Worship Leader, I would love to hear from you.
What has worked for you in teaching your congregation about worship?