Developing Authority as a Worship Leader

Leadership is not simply worshipping with all your heart on stage. (Pxhere/Public Domain)

If I were to poll worship leaders across the world, I'd imagine most would say they don't love to talk.

Most would prefer to sing, close their eyes and worship their hearts out—in front of people. The problem with that is that's not leadership. There needs to be a heart to love, lead and connect with people in the room. That is why you are a leader. That is why you are on stage.

But the answer isn't just talking a lot. We all know the difference. Too much can oftentimes be a distraction.

In my recent interview with Christy Nockels, she called it the difference between leading aggressively and leading with authority. Aggressive leadership is being bold and based on personality. Leading with authority is, as Peter calls it in 1 Peter 4:11, leading "in the strength that God provides."

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That's what we're talking about.

Where Does Authority Come From?

It's an important question to consider.

Because if authority comes from your personality, that's a problem for introverts. Introverts don't naturally like to do what a worship leader needs to do—talk in front of people, be the center of attention, gather and influence.

An extroverted personality might enjoy those environments more naturally. But that doesn't mean you carry authority. Many people mistake an authoritative, anointed worship leader as one who just knows how to work a room. Authority is different.

Authority on stage comes from authority in secret.

Authority as a leader comes from learning how to be led by the Spirit.

How King David Developed Authority

Here's why: Authority isn't something external, it's internal.

King David was anointed the next King of Israel because of his heart.

"But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees. For man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart" (1 Sam. 16:7).

Sure, he had the skills to lead, but he developed a closeness with the Lord that prepared him for leading a nation. He had history with God.

"Your servant slew both the lion and the bear. And this uncircumcised Philistine will be as one of them, because he has reviled the armies of the living God" (1 Sam. 17:36).

His authority came from experience. His authority came from proving what God could do in trying circumstances. He didn't just have intellectual knowledge, personality or looks. Think about it—his own Father didn't even invite him as one of his own sons to be chosen. But God had chosen him.

So rather than just focusing on being bold, aggressive and having killer stage presence, focus on this:

  • Developing authority in prayer
  • Memorizing God's Word
  • Singing to the Lord
  • Knowing God
  • Spending time in the unseen
  • Praying without ceasing
  • Loving your enemies

What do you say? How are you developing your authority as a worship leader? How are you training young worship leaders to lead with authority over aggressive stage presence?

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