Be a Great Guest Worship Leader

In my 10 years on staff at a church, working as the media director, I had my fair share of encounters with guest worship leaders and artists. Once again, these were mostly great experiences, but some were memorably awful. Here’s some tips for being a great guest when visiting another church.

Be Prepared

Have your details sorted out in advanced.

Have a simple, accommodating rider that you can send in advance. Don’t go overboard with this; most churches aren’t going to have an SSL console and DPA mics. That said, make sure that the church has the minimum requirements you need to lead worship effectively and distraction free.

Something that is missed in audio-focused riders is the projection components. Clarify the projection software that they’re using. Be sure to send them the lyrics and arrangements. Since ProPresenter is the defacto worship presentation package, if you can, send a ProPresenter exports of the songs you’re planning on using.

Communicate

I feel like nearly every post I make has this as a topic; there’s a good reason. So many problems that occur in and out of the church stem from a lack of communication or miscommunications. Since I’ve covered this topic extensively in my last post, you can look there for the topics to cover. If the church you’re visiting is weak in this area, show them grace by helping them with the questions that the may not know to ask.

Be Respectful

Don’t throw your stuff everywhere. Don’t put your feet on the coffee table in the green room. Don’t treat the church staff and volunteers like servants. Don’t throw a hissy-fit if you can’t get the WiFi password within 10 seconds of walking in the door.

You’re a guest; act like one.

Be Humble

Nothing irks me more than guest worship leaders who think they’re God’s litteral gift to mankind. In my life so far, the most talented guys I’ve met have also been the most humble. Conversely, some of the most arrogant, really shouldn’t have been. Just because you’ve been invited to lead for a service, doesn’t mean you’re something super special (for all you know, you were their last resort when everyone else declined). You will severely limit your effectiveness in ministering to the church you visit.

Minister to Your Hosts

This is probably the most important thing I’m going to write today:

When visiting a church as a guest, your focus is probably going to be ministering to the congregation of that church, but if that’s your only focus, you may be missing a really important opportunity to minister to the staff and volunteers of the church you’re visiting. So many churches have burned out or discouraged pastors, worship leaders, production guys. If you can come in for a day and bear their burdens while you’re there, that might the most effective ministry you have that day.

That wraps up our series on guest worship leaders. Switching gears:

Some Changes

Long story short, there’s some transitions happening in my life right now and for the next few months, my focus is going to be shifting away from worship ministry for some time. While I won’t be abandoning this blog, I will be scaling back my posting to once a month through the end of the year.

Additionally, I’m going to be reevaluating what parts of this blog have been most effective. My web statistics show that the free resources I’ve made have had a far more interest than the blog, so I may try to shift my time into making more of those instead of writing a long-format article every week. If you have any thoughts on what would have the most value, I’d love to hear from you. Hit me up on FB or Instagram.

Tony has been involved in worship ministry for nearly 20 years. After graduating from the Calvary Chapel School of Worship, he spent ten years as a church staff media director. He currently works as a software developer in the healthcare industry and serves in various capacities at Calvary Chapel Milwaukee, WI.

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