What is the role of the worship leader in a contemporary church service?

The role of a worship leader is to guide Christians in their worship. It’s important to understand what that means precisely as well as how and why we worship.

Worship is a way of being in which one encounters and returns God’s love. It is the most in tune with God’s will and closest we can go to being in his presence. Worship is not our default state. But those who engage in it yearn to do so more frequently, more deeply, and more completely.

Worship leaders need to focus on encouraging the church. Helping us put aside earthly worries and diversions. They need to direct our hearts and minds toward heaven. A worship leader should encourage an attitude of thanksgiving. Along with an attitude of praise as preparation for worship.

The order described in Psalm 100:4 of the Bible says. “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” This describes the temple with its three sections. First the outer court which is inside the gate. This is where we access through thanksgiving. Then the inner court, where we access with praise. The final place is the Holy of Holies. This is the place of the inner sanctum of worship.

The Holy of Holies was not accessible to us until the sacrifice of Jesus. When Jesus died on the cross the veil separating us from the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom. This is how the temple is represented with its three sections.

Worship leaders need to understand how entering into thanksgiving and praise prepares the heart to begin worship. It is most helpful so that we achieve our aim of worshiping God in Spirit and in truth. As it says in John 4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”.

With thanksgiving, we start. It is essential that we practice being grateful. It brings us low. Pride and humility cannot coexist as virtues. People who are proud are not grateful, as we all know, “That no flesh should glory in his presence.” — 1 Corinthians 1:29

So, we concentrate on our gratitude. Until we reach a state of grace. We sing “Amazing Grace” and other songs of praise. To receive grace, we give thanks. The expression of true gratitude must come from the depths of our hearts. This could result in tears. Otherwise we are making noise. The word “Thanksgiving” cannot be used in a meaningless manner. We are prepared to praise him once we have entered his gates in thankfulness and experienced his grace.

Giving thanks is very different than praising. We exalt the qualities, characteristics, and deeds of our God in our adoration. We compliment him on how great, strong, and wonderful he is.

We sing many inspiring songs of triumph and victory of our God. Praise is energizing. It rouses us, gives us courage, strengthens us, and gets us ready for spiritual conflict. Worship fosters self-assurance and faith in our God. When we experience God’s boldness rising inside us, we may be sure that we have entered his courts. We have let go of our worries and uncertainties. We also need to address our failure and inadequate feelings. Once this happens we are finally prepared to enter worship.

Worship is the direct display of adoration. It is an unrestrained dance of love with the Creator of the universe. I place where perfect love casts out all fear and God showers us with his endless love.


John is also author of the book “Building a House of Worship”. The book was written as a guide to Christian church worship leaders to better minister to the people they serve as they use their gift of music. Get the worship and praise album "Called to Worship". Go to Get Free Worship Music.

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