You have probably figured it out by now: Playing guitar isn’t enough. More is needed than just a guitar part. You are not there to just provide a backing track. You are there to lead your congregation into genuine worship of the Risen Savior.
We have a lot to think about when playing guitar and you might be afraid to add some more things to the plate. Don’t worry. These are small yet very effective things you can do to help lead your church into worship.
1. Smile. This is the biggest thing especially for us electric guitarists. We have a lot to think about when we play. We are always thinking about the settings on our pedals, which strings the pick should be hitting, what fret our hand is on, and, of course, what part is coming up next in the song and what tap-dance we will have to perform to get the right pedals turned on and the wrong pedals turned off. We have quite a job on our hands…and feet.
Because of this we can often look like zombies. Our faces look like we don’t care about what we are doing and why we are there. Of course, this isn’t true. We are concentrating. We have to. But if we learn to smile while managing everything, we keep ourselves from being just a manikin with a Fender. We become worship leaders. We enjoy what we are doing. We enjoy why we are doing it. By smiling we communicate that enjoyment and inspire it in others.
2. Look at the congregation. Don’t ignore them. A worship leader (that’s you) who ignores their church will end up with a church that ignores them. You are there to lead worship, not play a song and hope worship happens.
Engage them with your eyes. Let them know you haven’t forgotten they are there. Suck them in with your smile. Let them see you enjoying worship. You don’t have to make eye contact with an individual necessarily; you can look at them as a whole. But don’t be afraid to make eye contact with a stranger and give them a smile every once in a while. By engaging them in this small yet very effective way, you will inspire your church to also enjoy worship.
3. Think about your guitar parts like a worship leader. Sometimes we can think so much like a guitar player we forget to think like a musician. We can get so wrapped up in a new pedal that we use it all the time. Or we just love the way power chords sound so we use them during songs like “Here I Am To Worship.” What happens is we take away from the song instead of adding to it.
Design your guitar parts to complement or even enhance the song. When this is done well, your instrument begins to lead worship as well.
Jesus is alive; therefore, you be alive when you worship Him and others will follow.