Have you ever thought about what it would take to be your worship leader’s favorite musician? Unfortunately, many guitarists never do, but it can be a great mental exercise for us as guitar players and servants. When we do, we start thinking outside ourselves. When we start thinking outside ourselves we encounter paradigm shifts. When we have paradigm shifts, we start to grow. Here are some pointers to help get you started.
1. Always be on time. It communicates that you take the worship ministry seriously. If you take it seriously, your worship leader will take you seriously.
2. Ask yourself the question: “How can I make the ministry better in my worship leader’s eyes.” This will mean you will have to pay attention to your worship leader’s vision for the ministry, both in musical style and in worship expression. Sometimes we can think that by latching on to someone else’s vision we forfeit our own ideas. That is completely wrong. By latching on to our worship leader’s vision we give our own ideas more credibility.
3. Always tune up.
4. Come to rehearsal knowing your parts. Don’t treat rehearsal time as a time to learn your parts. Know them already. Your worship leader will love you for it.
5. Play for the song. Don’t play for a friend. Honestly look at what makes the song work and what it needs rather than what would impress someone you know in the audience.
6. Have good-sounding gear. Gear matters. I cringe whenever I hear someone refer to a well known player like John Mayer and attribute all of his good sounds to his hands. People completely look over the fact that he plays a $10,000 amp. Tone is in the hands, but it is certainly not all of it. If you don’t think your “hands sound good” than give yourself an advantage by surrounding yourself with high quality gear. If you have “good-sounding hands” then just think how much better you will sound when you have a good amp, instrument and pedals.
7. It is worth repeating: Always tune up. Have a quick, convenient way to tune (in other words, buy a pedal tuner) so you can easily tune during a song without interrupting the flow of the song.
8. Don’t just play the song, lead worship. You are not just a guitar player. You have a part in leading worship. Your role is beyond just playing a song like on the CD; your role is to inspire your congregation to worship. You can’t lead where you don’t go. Are you yourself worshiping? If you are not and simply settling for providing a live backing track then you are not doing everything you can do to serve your church well. In addition, you are missing what God has in store for you during worship.
The goal is to be the person your worship leader never has to worry about. When your worship leader sees you on the list of musicians playing this week he or she should feel a little better knowing you are on the team. That is the secret to becoming your worship leader’s favorite musician.
Oh, and one more thing: sound good.