One of the biggest struggles I have faced as a worship leader is determining what is helpful and beneficial for the congregation when it comes to speaking parts in a worship set. Maybe you can relate? We spend so much of our time working on the musical side of our worship and letting God pour out His Spirit through us in that way, that sometimes it results in us feeling more comfortable singing than we do speaking. For some, speaking comes completely naturally and is done with ease. It’s a part of our natural flow as a leader in worship. But for many of us, it is a skill that needs to be honed and developed over time. 

I often feel like I relate so well to Moses in Exodus 6, where God tells him to go speak with Pharaoh. Moses says that he has “faltering lips,” asking the Lord to send someone else. Sometimes I am preparing for a worship set and think, “God, I’m no theologian… I don’t have much to offer here.” But then He reminds me: He’s called me to lead His people in worship and will give me the strength, inspiration and courage to proclaim truth -- even if it’s simple and my words are few. Our role as worship leaders is to listen to His Spirit and use our words to help encourage a heart of worship in the church. It really is that simple.

These verbal exhortations can take on a variety of forms, and it’s helpful to know what you can draw from as a worship leader. First and foremost, we can use Scripture to encourage the body. Every word in the Bible is Spirit-breathed and divinely inspired -- much better than most of the words we can prepare! Use a word, phrase or even one simple verse to help relate songs to the Word or remind the body of truth. You might also choose to share a personal anecdote of how God revealed Himself to you and reminded you of truth. It might take some courage to lean into the vulnerable place in your soul, but keeping your words focused around the transformative work of the Holy Spirit in your life can deeply encourage others in similar situations. You might also choose to highlight and relate lyrics from one song to the next. This is a great way to re-inspire those who have sung these songs hundreds of times and forgotten the depth of truth that lies within each one. 

Above all, it’s important to “check” what you have prepared to say in prayer. I like to use these questions: 

  • Is this Christ-centered? The words that we speak should be words that point others back to the cross. They should always point back to Calvary in a way that enlivens the reality of the crucifixion and resurrection and message of redemption.
  • Is it Spirit-checked? We need to ask the Holy Spirit, “Is this from you? Is this something you want me to share?” Otherwise, there is no power in our words. It is the Holy Spirit who transforms our words into a powerful tool to draw people into the presence of God.Are my words motivated and marked by love? In other words, why do I want to share these words? I don’t want to be a “resounding gong or clanging cymbal” (1 Cor. 13:1), but want to encourage and promote truth in the body.
  • Are my words motivated and marked by love? In other words, why do I want to share these words? I don’t want to be a “resounding gong or clanging cymbal” (1 Cor. 13:1), but want to encourage and promote truth in the body.

How do you go about preparing speaking parts in your worship sets? Have you found any helpful tools for those of us that struggle in this area? We would love to hear!