What Worship Leaders Need for Great Stage Presence (Part 1)

By Dwayne Moore

The following is the first a three part post on “What Worship Leaders Need” for Great Stage Presence:

In 1 Samuel 16, God instructed Samuel to go to Bethlehem where he would meet up with Jesse and anoint one of his sons to be the next king of Israel. Jesse had several sons, and he put them in front of Samuel one at a time so Samuel could see them. Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the LORD’s anointed!” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (v. 7).

Notice what the Lord said: “People judge by outward appearance.” God himself acknowledged what you and I need to also realize: people still look on the outside. We often pray, “Lord, hide us behind the cross,” and that’s a wonderful prayer. However, ultimately people don’t see a cross; they can only see us, standing up there on the platform.

No doubt, the heart of the worship leader is what matters most to God. It is from the heart that our mouths speak and declare His glory. Yet, because we are leading people who can only look at our outward appearances, the way we present ourselves is also vitally important—especially for those we’re trying to reach with the Gospel. Therefore, we need to know what it takes to have great presence on the platform. I believe there are five things we need.

1. Confidence

We need confidence as we stand and lead others in worship. Confidence doesn’t mean we’re cocky, mind you, and it’s not a feeling of over-confidence. But it is a sense of “Hey, we’re ready for this, and we know God is with us.” Confidence comes from being called, able, prepared and secure or “CAPS” for short!

Called: Calling means we feel like this is where God wants me. This is a part of my worship; this is part of my service. Ultimately there’s a confidence that comes from knowing God has placed us in this moment and this opportunity.

Able: Knowing we have the abilities we need to do our job well helps us feel confident. Some abilities are talents we were born with; others we’ve learned and honed along the way.

Prepared: Being prepared means we don’t have to worry if we’re going to blow the words or the chords of the songs. We’ve put in the time and practice to get ready beforehand. I love what a Bob Kauflin says in his book, Worship Matters. We shouldn’t only practice to get it right; we should practice enough that we can’t get it wrong. In other words, we should over-prepare.

Secure: Knowing we are called, able and prepared leads us to a true sense of security. We know God’s on our side. We know He is there with us on that platform and walking with us through our daily ministries. The old saying is true: “The will of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you.” That’s the truth we need to give us confidence.

2. Command

My mom taught me early in life that there shouldn’t be more than one leader making the decisions at a given time. Only one person should be in charge and calling the shots on the platform during a music set. If we have more than one main leader it can cause confusion. When I know that I’m in charge of what happens on the platform, I take that responsibility very seriously. My pastor and church leaders have entrusted me to lead that portion of the service. By the word “command, I don’t mean in a forceful or dictating way. Not at all. What it does mean that we will try our best with the Lord’s help to be the leader. We won’t just mindlessly let things happen—we will lead.

A commanding attitude does NOT mean…

 This is my platform to lord over.

 These are my people to control.

 This is my responsibility to demand.

 This is my opportunity to manipulate.

What a commanding attitude DOES mean…

 This is our platform to lead.

 This is our responsibility to fulfill.

 These are our people to serve.

 This is our opportunity to impact.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

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