I think I’ve touched on this before, so let’s jump right in.
I truly believe that leading praise and worship is more about your audience and preference than it is about the anointing. Wait…don’t close the blog. Let me explain…
I would never minimize the anointing of God. It’s imperative. However, leading praise and worship is a gift that God anoints, similar to any other gifts such as preaching, singing, choir directing, book writing, etc. As levites, our prayer is always that God will anoint what we do so that is effective beyond our own ability. I do believe that there are worship leaders who are gifted and/or anointed in a way to be effective in multiple environments. There are those who are able to walk into almost any type of church or worship gathering and effectively lead the congregation in worship. Now, I also believe that a congregation that wants to be led in worship, that truly has come to the service with the intent to worship, it takes very little “anointing” to sing or lead worship. All the leader has to do is lead and the willing congregation will follow without hesitation.
Here’s the thing: most congregations have their preferences in style, personality, song selection, and expression of worship. Because of this, I’ve watched worship leaders, who are indeed anointed, be very successful at home and very unsuccessful in other settings. Is this a bad thing? I don’t think it is. I think the bigger question is what can be done about this. I believe we have two choices that, depending on the person, can either be an either/or situation, or a both/and collaboration.
Work Within Your Parameters
Worship leaders must know their limitations and be able to work within those limitations as long as they exist. Thrive where you are planted. Know your audience and maximize your impact with that audience. When you’re true to yourself, you’re able to do your best work.
Grow Beyond Your Parameters
Learn what things about your presentation are anointing and learn what is simply style. Open your eyes and heart to new methods, new styles, and new songs. Be true to yourself, but actively pursue ways to broaden your horizon. As you grow, your congregation grows.
The point is to be the best worship leader that you can be, regardless of whether that’s in familiar territory or abroad. In further installments, I’ll touch on more specifics of options, necessities, and rules of thumb for leading worship in your local assembly.