Musician, worship leader and recording artist Todd Agnew offers these eight tips for music leaders. See if you can apply some of these ideas in your ministry.

1) Get to know God in a deeper way.

Studying your Bible, prayer, everything you can do in your relationship with God will have a greater impact on your worship leading than the things you work on musically. As a worship leader, you are leading people to love God. So, the better you know Him, the easier it is for you to help them.

2) Remember that you cannot force anyone to worship.

I used to try to coerce, to mock, to drag people into the presence of God. That doesn’t work. In its simplest form, worship is loving God. You can’t force someone to fall in love. The most you can do is introduce them. So, in leading, we must lift up the Person of Jesus and let Him woo His beloved into worship.
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3) Don’t ramble.

In this current worship culture, worship leaders feel the need to talk, oftentime a lot; but remember, the pastor is about to preach a sermon that he/she has spent hours and hours preparing. He or she studied, edited and crafted a message for their people. So don’t just talk for five minutes because a thought jumped into your brain. Your people were just singing a song, focused on the presence, might, mercy and majesty of their Redeemer, and you are now distracting them from that. So you better have a really good reason for doing so.

4) Prepare…and be flexible.

Spend time studying the Scripture passage. Pray about the service. Search your song database for the right songs. Don’t just play songs you like or only those your people like. Plan your whole service to the best of your ability; but when it’s time to go, listen. Listen to your congregation, to your band and most importantly to the Spirit. Following the Spirit requires knowing His voice. You’ll find that most of the time, the Spirit will have been with you in every stage of the planning.

5) Practice.

Being spiritual shouldn’t mean being mediocre. Strive for excellence in what you do. Show grace to yourself and to others, but work hard.

6) Remember you are a servant, not a star.

As worship leaders, we serve. We serve God as worshippers. We serve others as a leader. We are not intended to receive attention or glory. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be gracious when people are complimentary. It just should not be your goal. God’s plan is for Him to be glorified, not you. We can be a part of that as worshipers ourselves and by helping others in their worship journeys.

7) Worship is a part of every moment, not just Sunday morning.

You probably know this already. We’ve taught about it a lot for the last few years, but I find it much easier to follow leaders who I have seen love God off the stage, as well.

8) This is just the beginning.

You never know everything. This list is not comprehensive but is just few ideas I’ve found helpful. Hopefully you will, too. Every one of you could teach me something about worship, because your journey has been different than mine. Every worshiper you encounter has a valid and valuable opinion. You can learn from everyone. Sometimes he or she may share that opinion in an unkind way, but you can receive it graciously.





Prayer is a vital component of small-group life. It sets up and maintains the health and vibrancy of your group. Sound prayer practices can affect your group in the following ways:

Positively influence how your small-group participants interact and minister to one another

Empower and mobilize your small group to reach out and incorporate spiritually unconvinced people into the body of Christ

Open the hearts of the hurting to God’s healing power

Open the ears of those who do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ to the gospel message

For these reasons, you should incorporate prayer throughout your small-group meeting. While each meeting should include prayer, you can keep things fresh by changing how you pray.

Prayer Ideas

Ask a small-group participant to open your gathering in prayer.

If you begin your meeting with a meal, pray for your small-group meeting when you pray for the food.

When you welcome the last person, officially open the meeting with a brief prayer.

Begin your study and discussion time with prayers of thanksgiving and praise.

Pray through your church’s weekly bulletin.

Pray immediately after a concern is raised—don’t wait for the official prayer time.

Be as specific as possible when you pray. Say the names of those you’re praying for.

Regularly pray for one another with the laying on of hands, especially when someone is ill (Luke 4:40; Acts 8:17, 28:8b).

Integrate prayer into your worship time. Spend time in thanksgiving, intercession, adoration, and confession.

Designate prayer partners. One way to do this is to have each participant pray for the person on his or her right throughout the week. Ask everyone to touch base with the person he or she is praying for before the next meeting.

11. Share answers to prayer with your small group. This encourages those praying to continue to pray (Acts 4:23-31).

Pray Scripture over a person or the entire small group. You could use Colossians 1:9-14 or Ephesians 3:14-19.

Pray a psalm over a person or the small group. Commit an entire meeting to reading Psalm 119 together.

Designate someone to be the prayer coordinator for your small group. As this person records requests and tracks answers, he or she will be empowered to lead and use his or her gifts to build up the body of Christ. The record of prayer requests will also be an encouragement to small-group participants as they see how God has been working in and through the group.

Set aside a gathering to do a Bible study focused on prayer. Consider using Ephesians 6:10-20 or Colossians 1:9-14.

Confess your shortcomings and pray for one another (1 John 1:9).

Have each person write his or her prayer request on an index card. Then exchange cards. Each participant should pray for the person on the card he or she has.

Fast and pray together. You could set aside a day to do this together, or you could choose to do this separately but at the same time. For instance, small-group members could agree to fast and pray over the lunch hour on Tuesday, wherever they’re at.

Encourage group participants to pray with their bodies. Have them stand with arms raised for praises and kneel for requests.

Close each meeting in prayer.

—Reid Smith is the Community Life Pastor of Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and the founder of the 2orMore small-group leadership training and resource ministry. Copyright by the author. Used with permission.

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