What makes a 'great' worship leader? I think there is certainly a place in the life of the church for a worship leader who imbues a service with their personality (hopefully, of course, a warm, lively, loving, inspiring, God-connected and God-centred personality). I know that in some places such worship leaders - if we speak honestly and frankly - are liked for how they lead services by many of the congregation but not by all. As a Kiwi I have never quite worked out whether the 'but not by all' is largely a cultural phenomenon - something about the reserved, serious, modest aspects of our culture resents the leadership which is overly enthusiastic!
I am also intrigued by leadership of worship which seeks to minimise the personality of the leader with a style of leadership which is spare, constrained, concise: minimal directions, for instance, offers less opportunity for the leader to impose themselves on the service. Sometimes moving in this direction is not 'great worship leadership': if so few directions are given, for instance, that people get lost in the prayer book, or, in a different kind of service, get caught out standing when everyone else is sitting, then some in the congregation may feel strongly that they have not been well led!
As we lead services, hopefully doing so often enough to get a sense of what our personal style of leading is, and then leading some more so that we can experiment with a different style, let's keep reflecting on what we are doing and why we are doing it. All with the aim of becoming a great worship leader!
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