8 Traits I See in Good Worship Leaders

As I visit churches in my various roles, I’m privileged to worship with many different congregations. The styles aren’t always the same, but I can tell you some of the common traits I find in worship leaders who catch my attention. I know these thoughts are just my opinion, but here are some of those things:

  1. The worship leader enjoys what he’s doing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched as a worship leader drudged his way through the task. When the leader loves to worship, on the other hand, I love worshiping along with him.
  2. He smiles. This trait goes along with the previous one. When you love honoring God, your face shows it.
  3. He makes the Word of God central in worship. Perhaps he reads the Word, or maybe he quotes it as a transition. The songs themselves also echo the Word of God, and the leader helps me prepare to hear the Word.
  4. He leads well, but without show. I’m not even sure how to describe this trait, but I know it when I don’t see it. Showmanship and God-centered worship are contradictory.
  5. He chooses songs that are singable. I’m not a musician, so I tread softly here – but I think that some songs that work well for a praise team don’t always work well for a congregation.
  6. He teaches me songs I might not know. He’s aware that some in the congregation don’t know every song he chooses, so he helps us hear them and sing them. This one’s especially important to me when I can see the lyrics on a screen but don’t know the melody.
  7. He builds prayer into the worship time. The combination of singing God’s praises and speaking to Him in prayer is a powerful one for me.
  8. He leads with excellence. You can usually tell when the preparation for leading others to worship is lacking.

Again, these thoughts are only mine, often based on only one experience in any given church. But, sometimes we get only one opportunity to lead others to worship God. What other traits would you add to this list? 


  • John W Carlton says:

    I’ll admit it, I am an old school guy. I was elected “Song Leader” at age 15 back in 1961 when all we had was hymns or the little “Red Book.” I love congregational singing. I also love choirs and choral music–that is what I went to school to learn how to do a better job. That being said, I do not like to go to a church where the Praise Team and Worship Leader are on the platform (Stage if you will) and act like it’s a performance that we have bought tickets for. The congregation may stand and clap and move, but no one is singing because they don’t know the songs. Yes, the melody may be “Catchy” but often the words are very shallow. Sorry, but I have yet to hear a Praise Chorus that has affected me more than “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” or “It Is Well with My Soul.”

    A new hymn such as “Untitled Hymn” or “In Christ Alone” speaks to hearts in much the same manner. Take these pointers to heart, guys and girls. Know that I love you because I am one of you.

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