- What we say and sing and proclaim is formational. What’s working, what’s not, how do we call the Church to Holiness through worship?
The topic of purity and holiness is so important to me—not just in worship but in everything that we do as believers. So much of what we’re judged, and rewarded for, by God comes down to the things we do when nobody’s looking: what we watch, what we say, the choices we make. It all matters to God!
When it comes to worship and leading people, purity and holiness matter all the more. Why? Because, as leaders, we are called to a higher standard. Titus 1:7 says,
The overseer, since he serves God’s household, must be above reproach.
Regardless of who you are—whether you’re leading with a microphone, playing an instrument, working sound, songwriting—you are called to live with higher standards.
If I could say one thing it would be this: worship is a lifestyle. It’s not just a position or an opportunity—it’s the way we live our lives. It is an extreme honor to lead people, but in that same breath, leading people comes with an extreme responsibility. How we live our lives, seen and unseen, matters to God.
3 Foundations of Leading the Church Into Worship
01. Be in the Word
The Bible is so crucial to have as our foundation. Being in the Word on a daily basis is paramount to being able to lead people into the truth of who God is. When you randomly select verses to fit what you think, things get skewed. As believers, but especially as leaders, we need to have a holistic understanding of the Word of God. We have to see the Bible from start to finish and not pick out what fits our own narrative. If we don’t understand the Word and God’s nature, then our faith is shallow.
02. Accountability to Leadership
Opening your life up to leadership is so important, but even more so when you’re leading people into worship. I run all my lyrics past my leaders. Have a theology pastor, or someone you know who is well-versed in the Word of God, help to ensure that you’re not leading people into deception. It’s so important that our lyrics don’t undermine God’s full nature. He is always good, always faithful, always loving, and our lyrics have to communicate that truth (Titus 1:9).
03. Guidance of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the filter that we have to run the Word of God through. There are so many places where the Bible seems to contradict itself, which is why we need the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us into all truth (John 16:13).
It’s so important to sing and lead songs where you believe every word. There’s a difference between singing a good worship song and singing what you believe with every fiber of your being. I would rather not sing than sing a song where I don’t firmly believe every single word. There is so much power in taking the faith you have and partnering it with what you’re singing. When someone sings with authority, it’s a completely different and powerful experience!
I have personally seen the profound difference when someone leads from the nature of God rather than the swirl and emotion of human existence. It’s about calling people higher, into who God is and who we are, rather than wallowing in our humanity. Write songs about who Jesus has called the Church to be, rather than songs about how you feel in that moment— because how you feel is temporary.
Jenn Johnson is a co-founder with her husband Brian of Bethel Music and WorshipU and together they have been integral in the production of over fifteen.