Guardians of the Worship Song


“Our job as worship leaders is not only to serve as guards of the content of the songs our churches sing; but as cultivators of the spirit with which they’re sung. It’s not enough for the content to be solid, although that’s important. We must help our congregations experience and express thankfulness and gratitude for grace.” -Jamie Brown from Worthily Magnify

Since I’m a worship leader, I get a lot of song request and recommendations.  I’m not opposed to this because I want to know what speaks to the folks in our church. But I’ll just say sometimes the songs that get mentioned to me are not exactly great worship songs. I’m sometimes told we need to be doing this song at church or to “give it a listen” which is really loaded with an ultimatum of “play this song or I will leave your church.” Maybe not that strong of a statement but that’s what it can feel like.

Jamie puts it nicely in his blog post that worship leaders are guardians of the content that the churches sing. This is because in reality, we lead the church theologically, emotionally, spiritually, with wisdom, and with knowledge so that those we are leading grow closer to God.

I’ve said it before; the church band is not a radio or a live concert. Our purpose is not there to entertain. One of our goals is to see God revealed and lead the church in response. We do that by knowing our congregation, what they’re going through in their life, what mess they’re dealing with then speaking to them through songs that reach out to them and help them reach out to God.

I understand a lot of songs do that so why can’t just any song be done at church? I was recently asked this question. Firstly, I’ll say it again. We’re not there for your entertainment. We’re there to lead you to God, to be able to see and recognize His spirit and encourage you to communicate with Him through song.

Secondly, not every song is conducive to worship in a corporate setting. Some songs are able to lead us to God but do a better job when we’re in our car or in our “prayer closet” or in a small (very small albeit) setting or even during a prayer meeting. Some songs are just not congregational friendly.

I think in order to do that, the songs have to have a good melody. They have to be singable. They have to have truth and sound theology. They have to be agreeable with the church. It needs to be anointed by the Spirit. I wrote HERE some other thoughts on how I put a worship set together. Check that out to learn more of my thoughts.

Worship leaders just don’t hear a good song on the radio or take your requests and play them. At least good ones don’t. There actually is a method to the madness if you will. Songs go through so many stipulations when I bring them into Xtreme. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t just do songs I like. There are actually a few songs we do that I really don’t like but I know they speak volumes to our church. Typically, I’ll have someone else lead them if I can. If I can’t, then I lead them with a heart of humility and servanthood.

Bottom line:

I take seriously my position to be guardian of the worship songs our church sings. If you’re a worship leader, you should too!

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About Kevin Riner
child of grace, worshiper of Jesus, husband, father, Pastor of Village Church, author of Faith Debugged

2 Responses to Guardians of the Worship Song

  1. bradrhine says:

    Good stuff, Kevin!

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