How To Be A Good Worship Leader: 21 Things You Need To Know

We worship leaders have the greatest privilege:

We get to lead people into the presence of God.

We get to facilitate life-changing encounters.

Plus, studies have shown after preaching better sermons, improving the standard of worship is the biggest factor in growing your church.

And just as a good sermon doesn’t happen by accident, neither does good worship.

Certain skills, attitudes and practices will help you lead worship better.

In this post, I’ll share a few pointers and good worship leader resources to help you lead worship well.

Let’s do this! 💪

21 Best Tips On How To Lead Worship In Church

1. Invest In Yourself

Great learners make great worship leaders so continually invest in yourself and develop yourself as a worship leader.

Invest in yourself to become the best worship leader you can be and you’ll reap the rewards for years to come. Your church will too.

So read books on worship, attend conferences and take the time to hone your skills.

Get some solid worship leader training. has designed a fantastic worship leader training program if you want to develop your worship-leading skills.

2. Prepare Your Heart

Apart from knowing the songs, setting aside time to prepare your heart before God is the most important thing – it allows the Holy Spirit to speak, puts a verse on your heart and gives you creative ideas.

Ask what God wants to say during worship and what Bible verses you’ll share. Yes – actually plan what you’re going to say between songs.

“Setting aside time to prepare my heart before God is the most important thing…”

3. Choose The Right Setlist

When putting together your set list, resist the temptation to select songs just based on their sound — whether they’re energetic or mellow.

Instead, ask God to give you a vision of what He wants to do in the worship service. Write it down and prepare for it as seriously as you would if you were preaching the sermon.

Map out your songs and strive for a sense of dynamics – tension, release and build.

Run your song list by someone else – I always get a second eye to look over my list, just to make sure it’s the strongest and most relevant it can be.

This can mean you may need to tailor a song list to a specific service and then tweak it slightly for the next one.

4. Choose Singable Songs

The best songs are often the easiest to learn.

Check out the songs at the top of the charts, chances are they have an easy melody and are easy to sing.

One way to think about it is if it takes the worship team a whole week to learn a new song, the people in your church probably won’t be able to pick it up in a few minutes!

Fight to keep praise and worship sweet and simple. Less is more.

5. So High Can’t Get Over It, So Low Cant Get Under It

Jesus’ love is so high and so low, but that doesn’t mean our songs have to be.

Choose keys that are appropriate for the majority of people in your church (men and women).


It’s easy to pick keys that best fit my vocal range but think about the people you’re trying to lead into worship.

Don’t let too high a key be a barrier for those trying to enter into worship.

6. Be A Worship Team Leader

Treat everyone on your team as though they are worship leaders because they are.

Your job as the worship team leader is to bring the team with you not just musically, but spiritually and relationally as well.

Follow this 5-step blueprint to run your next worship team rehearsal in a way that does just that.

7. Discriminate How You Lead Your Team

Every person you lead needs to be led slightly differently.

The way you deal with one singer on your team may not work for another singer. The way you deal with your drummer might not work for your bass player and so on, so get to know your team members individually.

Find out what makes them tick, what they love and the dynamics their families and jobs bring to the equation.

Give extra time and grace to those who need it.

Your expectations and methods should be flexible enough to allow different types of personalities to coexist in your ministry.

8. Get Constructive Feedback

Good worship leaders are always looking for ways to improve.

You will learn about how to pick the right songs for your worship set, how to transition songs effectively, how to find the right people and build your worship team, including my personal favourite:

How to get your congregation to actually engage and worship.

Find people who have been leading worship longer than you.

Ask for feedback: what went well? where are there opportunities for improvement?

I want to lead people the best way I can each time, plus I don’t know everything so I need to remain humble and teachable.

9. Better Worship ≠ Number Of Musicians

The quality of the music and the size of the band have nothing to do with how “good” the worship is.

It’s how you utilise the people you have and facilitate God encounters.

Sound quality (though pivotal) should not be your measuring stick of success, rather – are the people engaging in worship?

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10. Be Ready To Have Your Say

Especially if you’re a co-worship leader.

When someone asks you to come up with an idea for a song or for help creating the worship setlist, be ready to offer up suggestions.

You could have a brilliant idea that no one else has thought of.

11. Don’t Hold Back

Lead with the authority that has been given to you.

Yes, there is a spiritual weight to the platform, which includes the responsibility we have to lead people to Jesus but lead confidently knowing you’ve been given the platform and entrusted by your pastors.

The job of a worship leader is to encourage people to turn their attention to God where it needs to be so he can move in their hearts.

It’s okay to encourage your congregation to raise their hands, close their eyes or focus on God. I’d even take it a step further and say it’s best to plan what you’re going to say.

No matter how great the worship is, people won’t always do these things automatically.

They need to be led.

(Just don’t overdo it!)


12. Watch Your Pastor

A good worship leader knows the balance between worshipping God himself and leading others into worship.

Remember you are there to support the pastor and follow his leading. This means during a worship service, be aware of what’s happening around you.

Don’t close your eyes for too long 👀

It’s easy to get so caught up in worshipping God that you become completely unaware of your surroundings and miss your cues from the pastor and others who are involved in the service.

13. Don’t Let The Worship Team Become A Clique

A good worship team is an integral part of the local church. Ensure your team stays connected in serving through the body. Avoid cliques and the appearance of loftiness by keeping them engaged in serving through the body.

14. Lead Worship In Kid’s Church

If you can lead kids in worship, leading adults will be an absolute breeze.

Prepare yourself though – kids are more honest and don’t hide their emotions as adults do.

You’ll know right away when something you said went over their heads, or when a song doesn’t resonate with them. You might even hear one of them say out loud that a song is too fast or too high.

15. Don’t Let the Trends Dictate Direction

Age, styles, tempos, volumes, instruments – it’s all subject to change.

A good worship leader doesn’t get pigeonholed by trends.

Just because the latest and greatest worship song is a rocker doesn’t mean your congregation can no longer worship God with a favourite hymn.

Authenticity beats a particular style or genre any day.

16. Be An Instrument For The Holy Spirit

Good worship leaders don’t use worship leading as their moment to shine.

It’s not about you.

Well, it kinda is, but you know what I mean…


If something adds to the service and allows you to arrest the atmosphere, then do it; but if it takes away from Jesus and what your primary purpose is, leave it out.

God has assigned you as a worship leader to be His instrument to bring Heaven’s music to the people and to bring the people before His presence in worship.

You want to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit so He can flow freely during praise and worship.

Because good worship leaders know this:

If we depend solely on our music, it won’t be enough. We’ll barely go “ankle deep” in our worship of God and our experiencing His glory. But if we’ll look to God, we’ll go in over our heads! (Ezekiel 47:3-5.)

Our very lives are dependent on the Lord, and enough of Him is never enough!

We were made to know Him and love Him.

One of the ways we do that is through worship.

Our mission as good worship leaders is to assist others in this experience and to fulfil that assignment and calling with excellence.

17. Get A Good Sound Guy

Your sound man (or woman) can make you or break you.

So make sure whoever mans that board knows what he is doing and how to do it – otherwise you will have bad mixes, feedback and that will mar the service.

Investing time and resources into the training of a good PA person will pay dividends.

18. Cue Your Team

Have you ever heard the expression, “He that thinketh he leadeth, and hath no one following, is only taking a walk“?

Keep your team in the loop by letting them know where you’re going with the song with words or by using these worship leader hand signals.

Bands I’ve led for a long time have learnt to read by body language so they know where I’m going next.

worship cues

If you’re not playing guitar, using visual cues can be helpful:

  • 1 finger = verse
  • 2 fingers = pre-chorus
  • 3 fingers = chorus
  • Pinky = bridge

I’ve been using these for years and they work well and are pretty inconspicuous.

I know some bands like Jesus Culture do a “C” with their hand for chorus, but personally, I feel like that looks a little awkward.

Whatever you decide, do everything you can to provide a clear lead.

19. You’ll Have A Train Wreck & You’ll Be OK

It’s inevitable.

As prepared as you might be, sometimes things don’t always go to plan during a worship service.

A close friend and mentor told me this and a week later, I had a beauty!

Don’t stress and don’t take yourself too seriously– it keeps you humble and you learn from it, plus they make for great stories to tell!

20. Watch Yourself Back

Have you heard yourself lately?

As cringe-worthy as this might be, on their mission to continually get better, good worship leaders watch/listen to themselves back.

You might be surprised to discover a nervous tick that you didn’t know you had.

Yes, you’ll hate it and it might even make you a little self-conscious, but ultimately you’ll end up a much better, more polished worship leader as a result.

21. Be Yourself.

You are unique and God speaks to each of us differently, so lead from a place of authenticity and confidence.s

How you look as a good worship leader might not look the same as somebody else don’t worry about comparing yourself to others.

Understand that a good worship leader has to have a life of consistent and committed worship.

Before you are a worship leader you are a child of God. Simple.

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Over To You

What qualities do you think make for a good worship leader? 

What are some tips for leading worship you wish you’d known sooner?

Share your comments below 🙏

8 thoughts on “How To Be A Good Worship Leader: 21 Things You Need To Know”

  1. Thanks alot Simon,Since I’ve been longing to be great in leading worship.May God bless you for these beautiful tips

  2. Very insightful, thank you!
    My question is: do you have any recommendations on which books on worship to read?


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