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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

GUEST BLOGGER: Aaron Cauble on "leading worship"

Today I will highlight my Arts Pastor here at Mosaic named Aaron Cauble. Not only is he one of the best music leaders I have ever been around, he is one of the best, if not the best, Pastor I have been around in the true sense of the word pastor (shepherd). This is some of the best stuff I have seen on leading the Body of Christ through the Arts to build it into maturity and have a thriving music/arts ministry. Here's what he had to say about leading music...

In my humble opinion, here is what's needed in a 'worship leader' (side note:  I usually call them the 'music leader' or 'worship music leader' so that we don't perpetuate the idea that music is the only way to worship.  By calling them the 'worship leader,' you are saying that they are in charge of all elements of worship in a church body.  I see teaching and preaching as worship, prayer as worship, encouragement, obedience to God's commands, etc.  Although some might argue it's just semantics, I believe our language should reflect our ideas and philosophies.  

1.  Sensitivity to the Spirit:  a worship music leader has to know how to listen to God and adjust fire at His leading 
2.  Humble:  there are far too many worship music leaders out there that do not have a humble spirit (the greatest of you must become the least) 
3.  Teachable: willing to receive wise council from others and be a part of an elder (or pastoral) team (be a team player and allow input from others into what you do)  
4.  Creative:  you must be reinventing yourself all the time or you and your body will get stuck in a rut; be willing to have consistency, but also be able to break the mold at times 
5.  Song-writer:  a music worship leader should be able to write songs that pertain to their body specifically and the season in which they're in.  If we believe in the creative God of the universe, He will give us songs to share with the body 
6.  Organized:  there is a certain amount of administration that goes along with organizing your team (printing chord charts, scheduling practices, making sure all media elements are there, organizing a service, etc.) 
7.  A musician:  someone that knows their music theory and their instrument well and has a well-rounded knowledge of the other instruments in the band so they can communicate musically with them 
8.  A basic knowledge of sound engineering:  you don't have to be an expert, but you should know the lingo so you can help the sound guy out and speak his language (if you're a church plant, you may be setting up the sound system by yourself) 
9.  Pastoral:  a worship music leader is going to be shepherding people on and off the stage (music team and congregation included) 
10.  Saved : they know Christ and are growing in their faith (their life bears fruit... you see evidence in their lives that they have been transformed by the gospel) 
11.  Servant of all 
12.  Faithful:  musicians can be flaky at times; you want someone who is dependable, does what they say they're going to do, shows up on time, makes their ministry a priority 
13.  Grows leaders:  they understand how to multiply themselves and teach others how to do what they do; a lot of music leaders I see get burnt out because they're leading every week, it makes more sense to grow up other leaders and give others the opportunity to lead because they bring something different to the body that you don't have and it empowers them 
14.  Prophetic: able to hear from the Lord and share it with others; can share words of encouragement and exhortation 
15.  Learner:  has to be able to adapt to the context of their body and of the times they live in; always learning new songs 
16.  Connector:  connects with other people that do what they do so they can learn from them and have a sense of community with the global church (hang with dudes from other churches and denominations that are team leaders) 
17.  Is engaged in the music/arts community outside of the Church (engages the musical domain of society, has music friends that aren't saved, goes to see or play live music in clubs, bars, etc., shows love to and has a heart for musicians that don't know Christ; not stuck in the church bubble)

Guidelines for leading worship:

1.  Be living a life that is rooted in the gospel so that you can be ready at all times to lead people in musical worship ("be ready in season and out of season"), so that when you lead people, you have something to say because you have been rooted in Christ and are listening to the Spirit at all times 
2.  Confess sin beforehand, come clean before the Lord to lead others in worship 
3.  Practice the songs and know them well so you don't have to worry about chords and lyrics and meaning while you're leading people; it should be 2nd nature to you and locked into the sub-concious before you ever play it in front of a group 
4.  Don't play a song unless you are fully convicted by its message 
5.  Listen to the Spirit as you lead and be willing to adjust your set according to His leading 
6.  Don't be affected by people's physical response (don't let their lack of response hinder you from worshipping, or their over-exuberance distract you), but also discern where people are at in the room so you can get a vibe for what's going on during the service (this can change from week-to-week drastically depending on what people are dealing with at the time) 
7.  Lead your team and give them physical or verbal cues so they know where you're going 
8.  Do everything you can to keep things flowing smooth (especially your transitions between songs and service elements) 
9.  Communicate well with the preacher beforehand and during the service (know where he is going so you can structure the songs thematically around the message and during the service watch them for cues if they feel like God is leading them a different direction or if you need to sing more songs) 
10.  Have a spirit of authority and humility (be bold, be filled with God's power) 
11.  Don't be something you're not (be genuine); if you're struggling, don't feel the pressure to put on a happy face (people can sense when you're not being genuine) 
12.  Sing and play your guts out (worship the Lord with all your heart, soul, strength, mind!!!)