David Santistevan

What A Congregation Needs From Their Worship Leader

Ever been caught in the middle of an awkward conversation?

You don’t know what to say, you feel trapped. You can’t wait for it to end.

Corporate worship can feel like this sometimes, right?

No, I’m not here to make fun of specific worship leaders. I’m not here to label you as awkward. But I do believe there is too much at stake for us to be a hindrance rather than a help to worship.

Your church doesn’t need you to be a rockstar. They don’t need you to be the best in world. They don’t even need you to impress them. They just need you to create a safe place.

Is Your Leadership Safe?
This last week I finished a fascinating book called “This is Your Brain On Music” by Daniel J. Levitin. He offers compelling, scientific proof about the power of music and how it affects our brains.

I didn’t read this book to improve my worship leading. I was simply curious about the topic and how it might help me as a teacher. But I couldn’t help but be challenged by a couple of points. I thought this was an incredibly powerful insight into why people trust the artists they love:

“Even when music doesn’t transport us to an emotional place that is transcendent, music can change our mood. We might be understandably reluctant, then, to let down our guard, to drop our emotional defenses, for just anyone. We will do so if the musicians and composer make us feel safe. We want to know that our vulnerability is not going to be exploited.”

Wow. So much to draw from this.

I think pastors and worship leaders need to be reminded how vulnerable worship is. It’s an act of complete self-denial – trusting in Christ as our source. It’s a killer of pride – not caring what other people think. It’s an awkward ritual to stand shoulder to shoulder with a room full of strangers and sing together – weird stuff.

Those of us in leadership can’t forget how awkward this really is for people. Sure, if you were raised in the church or have been a part of it for years it feels natural. But there are a lot of people attending our churches for whom it is anything but natural.

We need to create a safe place for spectators to grow as worshipers.

Continue reading.


Essential reading for worship leaders since 2002.


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