6 1/5 Tips For Making Good Comments When You're Leading Worship

I love to make comments as a worship leader.  Comments present great opportunities to draw people's attention out of the world and into the Word.  But if comments are not well formed and stated they can be distracting and have the opposite of the intended effect.  Here are a few tips that I have learned about making good comments in worship.

1. If you have nothing to say then say nothing.

Nothing is more distracting during a worship service then a worship leader who is tripping over his own tongue.  If you got something to say then say it.  But if you don't have anything to say then don't say anything.  Trust your song selection and the Holy Spirit to accomplish what needs to be accomplished.

2. Read...a lot!

90% of my comments flow from what I've been reading throughout the week leading up to the service.  Reading Scripture and other spiritual writings informs my mind, heart, and soul.  And that information fills the hopper that feeds my comments.

3. Quote Scripture and others

Views: 228

Comment by Stevo on December 31, 2011 at 3:19am

I like this topic a lot - the right words from the worship leader can make all the difference in the congregation's willingness to participate and I've spent a lot of time trying to figure it out. Funny enough, every time I prepare comments (as in point 4), it comes out bad. My best comments seem to be the ones that come from my personal study of the songs and subjects we'll be covering. If I focus on that, good comments seem to flow - about 2 hours before worship service. 

Hey - didn't you used to wear glasses?

Comment by Daniel Lyle on December 31, 2011 at 3:21am

I still do...  I lost them about a month ago.

Comment by Wulf Forrester-Barker on December 31, 2011 at 9:11pm

I don't tend to prepare my comments in advance, although if a thought strikes me I'll try to keep it in mind. I think that what you say in a situation like that comes out of the overflow of the heart. I try not to witter on too much but, equally, do try to take the chance of saying what comes to mind without overediting it. I've had some very encouraging responses recently so something's going right and all glory goes to God.

As a side note though, I've been exercising the responsibility of speaking and encouraging congregations in worship and other contexts for some time. As I candidly said, I don't rehearse my off-the-cuff comments too much but, for the sake of any less experienced leaders, I'd hesitate to say that there isn't a place for more structured preparation.

Wulf 

Comment by Daniel Lyle on December 31, 2011 at 10:15pm

I think the key is balance...  That's why I mentioned both preparation (4) and spontaneity (5).  But at some level spontaneity is proceeded by preparation.  The overflow of the heart comes out of the overflow of an informed and prepared mind.  Stevo made the point...

My best comments seem to be the ones that come from my personal study of the songs and subjects we'll be covering.

Regardless of whether or not he is scripting his comments he's still preparing for them.  Personally, when I plan comments I don't script or rehearse them but I have a fairly well formed idea that I want to convey.

Comment by Daniel Lyle on December 31, 2011 at 10:20pm

Wulf let me ask a question out of curiosity.  You said...

for the sake of any less experienced leaders, I'd hesitate to say that there isn't a place for more structured preparation.

What skill sets would less experienced leaders have to gain in order to move from structured preparation to spontaneity?

Comment by Wulf Forrester-Barker on January 1, 2012 at 4:35pm

It isn't a skill set so much as plain old experience. Spend time with God, with the people of God and in the things of God. Love, serve and exercise the many opportunities that will come to show love, patience and forgiveness. In time, things that would once have been daunting will become easier but there are very few shortcuts to unconscious mastery.

When you find that your efforts fall short, ponder, pray and work on ways to improve. When what you say and play seems more effortless, don't forget to give thanks and don't forget that there are probably other things still to work on.

For example, today I wasn't leading worship but I had to take a vocal lead on several verses of a hymn that was new to me while at the same time playing along more or less in tune on my upright bass. It went pretty smoothly but I know that probably just two or three years ago it would have been quite stressful and a few years further back than that I would have struggled even with advance notice to allow me to prepare for the song. It isn't that I have done specific work to meet that end but every year I am accruing many hours of playing and singing, including in the context of worship, and that all adds up to experience.

Wulf

Comment by Greg Moore on January 2, 2012 at 8:58am

I tend to think multi-level, and find it hard to stick to a thought when spontaneously speaking.  It's frustrating beyond end, because I often have no doubt that a certain idea should be shared, but it comes out, "Isaiah said, yes, Isaaaaai....uh... said, in.... chapter six, well, he said..."  and it sounds like I got too much of that burning coal on my tongue.  So it helps me a great deal to write something out, and force myself to stick to it. 

There was a time when I could barely say anything at all; so my limited speaking ability feels great now.

How many of you other music leaders get frustrated because your talent on the instrument consigns you to a role of non-speaker?

Comment by Daniel Lyle on January 2, 2012 at 5:23pm

Greg, I agree!  Scripting or outlining comments can really help to you to keep on point.

Comment by Stevo on January 3, 2012 at 9:10pm

I'm 100% in favor of preparing sermons and song lists and even comments by worship leaders. But for some reason, perhaps given the nature of the short and quick engagement that worship leader comments usually are, I seem to stutter and make mistakes when I have it planned and written out. But if I just let something bubble up from my heart as I rehearse through the songs, I have something nice to say on Sunday morning. But not always. If nothing comes to mind, I say very little. And I never "finalize" it until Sunday morning. I would never advocate this for sermons or songs and have never relied on this message when teaching.

And I certainly discourage other worship leaders from saying a lot - mini-sermons seem out of place.

Comment by Stevo on January 3, 2012 at 9:13pm

@ Greg - it's actually a different dilemma for me. Whenever I've preached or taught, I completely script it out in preparation. I don't deliver verbatim, but I make sure I've exercised every concept. And I have no issues with public speaking and do quite well at it. But when worship leading, it's short and has to be to the point. You have very little time to accomplish your task. This intimidates the daylights out of me.

Was Dilemma ever spelled - "Dilemna"? Why do I have that stuck in my head?

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