10 Ways Worship Leaders Are Spirit-Led


The trend right now in the blogging word is the bait-and-hook title. Make the reader believe they’re about to read one thing, then …BAM! Tell them the opposite. This happened to me today…well, sort of. Except this time, the blog writer didn’t mean to bait-and-switch me, it was just that the title of the blog was too long and didn’t fit in the thumbnail. I read, “10 Reasons Worship Leaders Are Spiritually…”

And I got excited. I thought, “Finally! Someone is writing a positive blog about worship leaders!” So I clicked.

I was wrong.

Instead, the article went on to describe, yet again, 10 ways worship leaders are failing. Not measuring up. Missing the mark. Fakes.

And I’m tired of it.

So, here’s my attempt at throwing something positive out there for all of us worship leaders. Because, honestly, I have encountered many incredible, genuine and faithful worship leaders over the nearly 20 years I’ve been leading worship. I want to celebrate them and the way God has raised up a generation of Spirit-led worshipers. I’m not saying there isn’t a place for rebuke, correction or words of caution. But I am celebrating the faithful worship leaders today who serve and lead out of hearts that are passionately following Christ.

Here we go:

  1. We spend consistent time in the Word. As worship leaders, we know we need to lean heavily into the Word. It is our bread of life, our sustenance and the source of wisdom. If we are not soaking in the Word, our souls begin to shrivel, and we all know from experience how hard it is to lead from a dry place. We have a thirst for the Word to permeate our whole lives, each and every day.
  2. We spend consistent time in prayer, listening for the Holy Spirit. We don’t take our calling lightly, so we rely on hearing that still small voice to guide us. Every word we speak to our congregations matter, and we want to make sure, first and foremost, we are hearing and speaking the words of our Savior.
  3. We serve. We know our role is to serve Christ and His bride. We know what it means to serve under the authority of our senior leaders, and sometimes that means putting our own preferences aside. We also serve our teams. We are shepherds, caring for the hearts of those God has drawn into our churches.
  4. We value and respect other worship leaders. Like any other human beings, we fight against the temptation to compete with and compare ourselves to one another. How? Through community. More and more, communities of worship leaders are coming together to support, encourage, and pray for one another. This is such a beautiful picture of the church, I can’t even describe it. But I think Jesus did: “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:22-23 (NIV)
  5. We are worshipers. Before we lead others to worship Jesus, we bring ourselves before the throne. We know we can’t lead others somewhere we haven’t been, so we get on our knees and lay it all out before Him. Privately. When there is no one else watching, He sees.
  6. We know Whose we are. Instead of pleasing man, we want to please God. We work for the Lord, because we know in this life, we will never please everyone. Our identity is not in what we do, but rather it is the fact that we are children of God. We are His.
  7. We are aware of our sin and shortcomings. We know our limitations. We come before the Lord consistently confessing our sin, our propensity to compete for His fame and glory, and we repent. We rely heavily on the Holy Spirit to reveal those dark corners of our hearts that can so easily remain hidden, and we ask Him to bring them out into the light. We also depend on the help of our teams, as we know we need to live in authentic community. May we continue to bare our souls. Create in us clean hearts, oh, God.
  8. We create. We tap into the God-given vulnerable places inside ourselves and we dig in deep to make something out of nothing. We write songs. We paint with words. We allow space for people to breathe and listen and respond. We are co-laborers with Christ as we birth new ideas.
  9. We are sensitive to noticing where God is moving and we respond. This is true in our world, in our communities and in our churches. We understand that worship is not just singing songs within four walls, but it is a lifestyle of loving God and loving others. This must include going beyond ourselves and our four walls and loving the least of these, the poor, the hurting, the broken, the voiceless. We worship with our hands and feet, our words and our actions.
  10. We grow. We are committed to growing ourselves, spiritually and in our craft. We understand the threat of apathy and becoming stagnant, so we put effort into working out our salvation and improving our skills. We also grow in leadership. We strive to become better leaders by becoming more like Christ. As a result, we also disciple others along the way. We grow. Others grow. And others. And others. “He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.” (Eph. 4:11-13 MSG)

Fellow worship leaders, keep going. Be encouraged. Stay strong. Keep pursuing Christ, as He continues to pursue your heart and make you more like Him.

How about you? How have you seen the Spirit leading wo


Jenn Petersen is a singer/songwriter, pastor, worship leader and church planter living in New York City. She holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Northern Iowa, studied songwriting with the Berklee School of Music, and is currently pursuing her MM at New York University. She has traveled extensively singing and leading worship, and her songs have been sung as far as Africa, Asia, and Australia. Her favorite role is wife to Branden and mom to their two children, Aidan & Emma.