How I prepare for worship leading

        When I first started worship leading, I would use all the materials available in the pastor's library . He had at least three books I could go to for worship resources. These were books written with headings like call to worship, prayer, special days just to name a few. All I had to do was choose a piece I thought was appropriate and fit with the scriptures and/or theme for the day (I then dated it so it wouldn't be used again for awhile).

         As my confidence level increased and I realized that God was present with me in the task of worship leading, I branched out. I began using other resources for worship. These resources were the scriptures themselves (especially the Psalms), hymns, Alive Now! (a bimonthly resource through Upper Room), Living Waters (a COB resource which is no longer available). I worked, added, pieced them together, whatever I had to do to make them "fit" in the service.

        After almost 10 years of worship leading, I have learned to trust in God and my ability as a worship leader. I spend time in prayer as I prepare for worship, which helps guide my thoughts, as I focus on the scripture for a particular worship. I still utilize worship materials, however for prayers I often write my own now. Or I have nothing written and have confidence that the Holy Spirit will give me words when the time comes.

         Taking a class or participating in workshops help to create a base of knowledge from which to work. I took a class on worship through our district's Center for Biblical Studies and thoroughly enjoyed it (FYI: anyone can take these classes). In the process, I learned more about worship and how we can make it meaningful for those who participate.

          I often haven't believed people when they have said, "The more you do preach / lead worship the better you get at it." I'm not sure why I didn't believe it, practice is how we learn new skills and worship leading is no different. Practice is important in building confidence and for writing your own materials. I have often been on a once a month schedule for worship leading.

          I hope these thoughts are helpful as you explore worship during the workshop.

                                                                                  Jody Gunn

          (Previously a member of the Long Green Valley congregation, Jody is a licensed minister serving on the pastoral team of the Easton, MD Church of the Brethren on the eastern shore, where she and her family now live.)


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