The older I get the more time seems to slip away from each day. I can easily find a hundred things that need my attention and probably deserve it. This is never more true than when preparing to lead worship. The details; the practicality that comes with planning a set, leading a team, and pastoring the people alongside you. Each of these things fight for my focus when I am preparing to lead a group of worshippers into a time of communion with the Lord.
I began crying out to the Lord for a new rhythm of preparation. One that put my heart and ministering to His heart first before every other detail. It changed everything. He led me to still and quiet spaces where I would do nothing but rest in His presence. Honoring Him and resting in the details. Sometimes it looked like listening to music, other times a long walk alone or reading the word. It became about encountering Him for no other purpose than delighting myself in the Lord.
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8
Out of that place of communion, I would transition to listening to each song I was preparing to lead. Listening several times through and then all together as a set. Allowing His spirit to guide me to how each moment could be ministered and noting scripture He would bring to remembrance to exhort His people. It helped me find a road map for each service. It allowed me to have a plan, but notice where there was space. Giving me freedom to go in whatever direction was needed if something needed to change for each service.
This rhythm has become a sacred practice for me. At the start of it, I entered into hoping for His guidance on how to lead His people. What I walk away with now is a real encounter of love with the Father. Leading people from that place of overflow has allowed me to watch Him minister in power and guide every detail.
That time is harder and harder to come by as life gets busier. That’s when He showed me it was all the more important to fight for that time. That nothing, no detail or schedule, was more important than making that space for Him. I had to lead people from a place of true and honest worship that He had brought me into. I found it by simply turning my heart and attention towards Him.
I believe greatly in planning, preparation, and diligence. However, I strongly believe it must be guided by the Holy Spirit. This must start from a place of prayer and encounter with His love. As you begin to prepare yourself for your next worship service, set aside some time just to rest in the presence of your heavenly Father. Allow Him to minister to your heart first before you ever lead another person. It will be costly. Finding that time is never easy, but it is essential.