I think a leader is someone who does three things very well:
Listens well – Leading is about relationships. If no one is following you, then you’re not a leader. In order for people to follow you, you have to be a listener. You have to know what people care about, what motivates them, what concerns them, and what will be best for them. That all comes by listening.
Loves well – Because leading is about relationships, leading is also about love. You cannot lead well if you don’t love the people you are leading. A leader has to be motivated by love. The ability to do what is best for someone else is rooted in your love for them.
Serves well – Jesus is our model for servant leadership. Jesus takes the towel and basin and lowers himself to the servant’s role. Jesus tells us that in God’s way of structuring the world, the last will be first and the first will be last. Anyone that wants to lead has to put themselves underneath everyone else.
Jared C. Wilson has a post about 10 phrases that worship leaders need to avoid. I do my best to not say these things because they get under my skin when I hear others say them. For the most part they are theologically weak and hype-inducing babble-speak. Especially cringe-worthy is “God showed up.” As if the God of heaven and earth could be controlled or summoned by an incantation.
What is the alternative to babbling like a hype jockey? I am a fan of beginning worship and connecting moments in worship using short, scriptural phrases that center our heart and mind. Here are a few examples of what you could say instead:
Sing to the LORD a new song! (Psalm 96:1)
I will sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. (Exodus 15:1)
Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. (1 Chronicles 16:9)
Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. (1 Chronicles 16:23)
Sing the praises of the LORD, you his faithful people; praise his holy name. (Psalm 30:4)
Taste and see that the LORD is good. (Psalm 34:8)
But as for me, it is good to be near God. (Psalm 73:28)
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. (Psalm 146:2)
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. (James 4:8)
-Artists want to help people experience God. Leaders want to give them truth about God.
-Artists want the freedom to try stuff, the chance to risk. Leaders personally like risk, but when it
comes to the services, they want to know what is happening and have a pretty good idea it’s
going to work.
-Artists are feelers. Leaders are thinkers.
-Artists want to leave room in the program for spontaneity and the move of God. Leaders figure
God will move ahead of time during the planning phase.
-Artists have a hard time logically explaining how the artistic elements will contribute to the goal
of the service…they just feel strongly that it will work. Leaders have a hard time planning a
service around a feeling.
Artists like asking questions. Leaders like giving answers.
-Artists like leaving the audience in the tension of the unanswered. Leaders feel like they are
failing if they don’t offer a convincing message.
-Artists want to be a part of the dreaming phase. They want to know the “why” and not just the
“what.” Leaders want someone to create a service around their concept.
Download the free eBook, “Leadership Learnings.” Tim says these are generalization, and I agree. I see myself in both descriptions on several of these points. Successful worship leaders have a blend and balance of gifts in the artistic and leadership areas.