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4 Tips For Leading Worship Online

4 Tips For Leading Worship Online

As a worship leader, I can tell you that it was a bit weird for me the first time we did an online service. Here are some tips just for you!

Mike Rhoades | Mar 27, 2020

Has your church gone to an online service and tasked you with leading worship for an online audience? How did it go? Did it feel strange? 

As a worship leader, I can tell you that it was a bit weird for me the first time we did an online service. As worship leaders, we are used to feeding off the energy of the room. I mean, that’s our job! To engage with people and invite them to worship in the presence of God. Take hope, though - the environment may have changed, but what we do has not. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind this Sunday as you prepare to lead your church in worship:

1. Change the delivery, not the purpose.

Remember the last time you were in your car on the way to work and that one song from your playlist came on, and in that moment you could feel the presence of God? What did you do? You listened, prayed, smiled, and maybe even started singing along (with only the proper amount of air guitar, of course). Your church members may be watching along at home, but you are still creating an environment for them to worship. Rather than inviting people to raise their hands, stand up, or assume the worship position, invite them into your worship. Pray, dance, raise your hands... more so than ever, your personal worship is going to set the tone for how people perceive and participate in the experience.

2. Be a worship leader, not a rock star.

Authenticity in this environment is extremely important. It can be tempting to go look up videos of famous worship leaders and think that you need to act, dress, or sound like them. Remember, you're not selling a product - you are inviting your church, your friends, to join you in worship. Be yourself and invite people into your personal worship. It’s ok to not be perfect. We should always be prepared and strive for excellence, but just because you are performing online doesn’t mean it needs to be forced. Enjoy the idea that even though you are not together in person, you still get to worship in unison with your church family.

3. Ensure the online experience is enjoyable.

There are many different factors when you are singing and performing on live video versus a live room. Don’t assume that just because it sounds good to you and the environment is comfortable for you that it will be the same for those watching at home. Here are few things to consider when setting up your live stream experience:

  • A GOOD audio mix is essential. Mix for the online experience using headphones. Setting up a microphone in the middle of the room while the band plays is not going to sound good. Invest time into properly setting things up (maybe simplify the band) and optimize your online mix. 
  • Lighting for live video. Simple tip: when setting up your lighting, be sure to preview it on a video monitor. What looks good live does not always look good on camera.

4. Song selection for live worship matters.

As you are selecting songs, take some time to consider how those songs will translate for those at home. This might not be the right environment for the 11-minute version of that song with the long breakdown and 24-bar build. You might want to consider the following:

  • People will likely be viewing your experience on a mobile device or sitting. The type of interaction they will have with the music is different than during a live event. 
  • You may have viewers who are not part of your church watching, so try to choose a few more commonly-used songs.
  • Choose songs that can flow into each other. Pauses, silence, and awkward transitions between songs can be distracting to those worshipping with you from home. 

Even though the environment has changed, the purpose of what we are doing as worship leaders have not. We get to invite people to turn their attention to the God of the universe, to enjoy His presence, and to worship in awe at His grandeur. I want to encourage you to embrace this season, get creative, and to LEAD your church family in worship during this season.


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