By and large, worship leading requires great skill, extensive training, and a calling to lead God’s people. Therefore it is not something that can be entered into lightly, but will involve discipline, humility and must start with a love for the church.
Start in a Local Church
We find that many worship leaders’ journeys begin in their home church.
Typically the first step is to start developing skills as a musician and learning to play with other musicians. This can be accomplished by joining a worship team and learning from the current worship leader and other members of the team. Learning to lead worship is best learned from other worship leaders. They can help train and pass on the knowledge that they’ve obtained.
Seek Volunteer Opportunities
After gaining some experience as a worship team member, then other opportunities might come up to start leading. Becoming an alternate worship leader, or leading in smaller groups for other ministries can be a great way to start practicing.
Consider Formal Education
For those who feel called to pursue worship leading as a career, it is strongly recommended to continue their journey with formal education. After all, worship leaders are both spiritual and musical leaders. Therefore it is best that they receive training in both areas to truly prepare themselves to lead a church.
Refine Advanced Musical Skills
Another important practice is to refine your musical skills when learning how to lead worship. For example, some practical skills to start working on would be in the area of music theory and then applying that to an instrument.
Let’s face it – it can be difficult to lead a band without any knowledge of music theory. However, start small and learn a few chord progressions. Then begin learning the language of music and how other musicians like to work together. Growing in musical skills will help any worship leader be able to lead more confidently and communicate more effectively with their team.
Formal Training in Church
Depending on the church, there may also be an opportunity to do some formal training. Some churches offer private lessons, classes, or even mentorship programs. This is a great way to grow and learn from the local church.
In most cases, however, many churches do not offer any training programs in-house for worship leaders. This leads to a number of people to look elsewhere for the training they need.
Over the last 20 years, this has become a growing trend among Christian colleges. They have been offering some form of a worship leader program or training for Christian musicians. But how do you know which school and/or program is the right one?