My daily and lifelong challenge constitutes a genuine, honest and deep self-evaluation and critique. I try to intentionally seek growth through honest reflections to prepare my heart to lead from an authentic place-- a healthy place. When I have the opportunity to lead worship, I think over three primary components.
Is my heart right?
A goal I have made for myself prior to taking a step on stage is to be authentic in my invitation to the Body for worshipping the Lord; intentionally checking the root of my thoughts and the desires in my heart so that I don't lead from a place of formality or complacency. The more you lead, the more you have to fight the urge to just “go through the motions.” I think of Matthew 15:8 when Jesus says “these people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.” I feel abundantly blessed to have the opportunity each weekend to be a vessel of God's invitation to eternal life. That being said, I want to make sure I lead with my heart as well.
If I lead with just my head, I'm losing out on an opportunity to be genuine; I am missing out on an opportunity to model authentic worship that avoids unneeded routine.
Is what I’m doing on stage an invitation or a distraction?
Over the last few years, God has deepened my understanding of the worship leader's role to invite His people to seek Him face to face.
Leading is to be an invitation to the people of God for the sole focus of worshipping God, not any kind of distraction from Him.
Of course, things happen that we have no control over, but when I step on that stage, my deepest desire is to help people focus on the words being sung and the melodies that the Holy Spirit uses to capture hearts. If the focus becomes the riff or the delivery musically, I as the worship leader have forgotten the point. Excellence and abilities are God-given but a heart surrendered truly becomes a vessel for leadership in His kingdom. We, collectively must ask, " What’s the motive?"
Do I mean the words I am singing, or am I just trying to sing the song well?
I realized a few years ago that before I lead songs of praise to Jesus, before I challenge the congregation to greater depths of surrender; I first must mean it, I first must surrender.
Often times before heading into a weekend, I will look over the lyrics I will be singing and pray them out loud and I will ask the Lord that when I sing them, that I would mean them. Words have a lot of weight and power, so If I am encouraging God's people to sing these words, I too need to mean them; I too need to spend the time making them my prayer.