For worship leaders everywhere, this is a standard question.
While we all wish to be flexible to permit the Lord to work in our church worship service, we will not escape the fact that everybody has an opinion as to how long a worship service should be. Be advised that worship leaders and musicians will always think it must be longer, while many of the congregation disagree with worship leaders and believe it ought to be shorter.
To sit down during during one of these sessions of worship leading appears to convey either weakness of lack of spirituality! The actuality is it potentially conveys cramps and commonsense. Any fool could see that this is not suitable, but apparently not some but reputedly not some worship leaders, who continue to pull out worship leading times to the max.
I once ministered at Hills Christian Life Center, the Mecca for Aussie musicians (do we all face Hills when we pray?), and saw Darlene lead worship. It lasted 20-25 mins. Shock, amazement! They were right into the Lord’s presence from the 1st song, and they didn’t labour the worship as some do for over an hour. This should speak volumes to those of us who are leading worship. Worship should be ENJOYED, not ENDURED!
So, in the name of resource allocation and common sense, here are some concepts on timing in worship:
1. Regardless of how many or how few are in the room, START ON TIME. It is not not a performance, and you are doing this as unto the Lord, so it should make little difference how many are in the room.
2. You see, there is a blessing in worship leading and serving a person of God!
3. Have 2 songs up your sleeve : So, when you choose the tracks for the service, you don’t have to play them all!
4. Do not get locked into a programme: When worship leading, be flexible to modify songs, cut songs or add songs if the Spirit authorizes. I am always wary of the released orders of service. Infrequently they are timed, which is even scarier! Now, I know we need some type of order of service, and that everything needs to be done in order, but let’s not sacrifice the move of the Spirit on the altar of an orderly programme! If something occurs, we want to be free to change.
5. When do you stop the worship? Again, it’s all about being a servant, not having your own way!
6. Ask yourself, “How many times do we want to do this song?” One of the most usual feedback of worship leaders is they repeat songs or sections of songs to the point of frustration.
So, when doing the groundwork for a service, consider these concepts and be sensitive both to the Spirit and also to those in the congregation. You are called to steer worship, not perform and not to torture. In the final analysis, less is mostly more when it comes to leading worship.
If you wish to learn more about worship leading, I’d love to help you become the worship leader you long to be.