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The Platform: Leading from Wherever You Are

Aug 24 2015

As people serving on worship teams, we can too easily have a mindset that if we are not the rostered ‘worship leader’, we can rest a bit and just quietly do our thing, and leave the ‘leadership’ to the worship leader position only. Within our church, we tend to take a different approach…

Jad Gillies, one of our senior worship leaders, always tells our team that “everyone is a worship leader”.

Psalm 145 talks about how God’s people endlessly bless Him, they talk about His glory and sing songs to Him, letting the world know of His goodness.

We encourage our whole team, no matter what position they are serving from, to consider themselves as helping to lead the church in worship. The responsibility of leading worship isn’t limited to a rostered position on Planning Centre, (although we do need and have rostered worship leaders ?), the responsibility is actually carried by our entire team.

Every time you step onto the platform to play an instrument, sing in the choir, etc, you have the privilege and opportunity to encourage and lead others to worship God, so use everything you have to point people to Jesus.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship.” (Romans 12:1 NIV)

You may not have a mic to sing, but you have a voice.

You might not be at the front of the platform, but you have a posture.

Your outward expression can point people to the goodness of God and inspire others to lift their eyes to Jesus.

In light of that, there are some very practical principles that we can apply when serving on the platform, to help us do it better … Here’s some of the things we teach our own team, I hope you find some of it helpful for you and your team!

1. We lead from wherever we are

It is not solely up to the worship leader to lead the congregation. Each of our platform team have a responsibility to be leading from wherever they are, from whatever position they find themselves serving from. Whether behind a drum kit, guitar, keyboard, vocal microphone — we are all worshippers and leaders, first and foremost. If we craft the most perfect songs and setlists, but fail to help carry and engage the church alongside the worship leader, we have missed the mark. We are not gigging or on stage to simply play and sing excellently — we are on the platform to lead people into the presence of God. That must be our first and foremost objective!


However, this does not discount excellence — we shouldn’t be raising our hands at the expense of paying attention, or missing cues and parts to execute our craft ☺ … it’s possible to do both!   It means we need to practice and achieve a level of excellence and ability within our craft, so that we’re able to engage and actively be singing / worshipping / leading from wherever we find ourselves (in addition to playing and singing well)!

2. We set the standard on AND off the platform

Leading in a service does not just stop with the platform team rostered on that Sunday. Our pastors / leaders / volunteers lead our church in response. If we’re not rostered on platform for a service, we lead still off the platform — by worshipping passionately, raising our hands, dancing, clapping, engaging in the service. We should have the same level of passion on and off the platform! If we are only able to show life and energy when we are on platform, we have missed the point. The platform should be an overflow of the leadership and passion for Christ that already exists within us!

3. Our posture and stance are either inviting or distancing for people.

Whether we like to admit it or not, when we are on the platform, people can actually see us (not just the worship leader) and are often watching us. Our body language says more than we think it does. If we have our heads down, solemn faces, rigid bodies, while the worship leader is doing their best to engage and lift the congregation — there is disparity in our message. It’s all of our responsibility to be in unity in leading and encouraging the congregation through whatever position we are serving in.

When you’re not required to play or tune etc, be participating in engaging the church — singing / clapping / lifting your hands, moving around. This may sound trivial, but if we see ourselves as leaders, supporting the worship leader and doing all we can to be worshipping and engaging the church from where we are, it brings a new freedom and desire to be inviting in your posture.

Something as simple as a smile can change the atmosphere. Eyes shut and intense faces have their place, but can also be off-putting if not balanced with an inviting posture. We encourage our team to be smiling, singing, and using their instruments and body language to be engaging and welcoming to the people in the congregation. Sometimes we need to tell our faces to show the love of Jesus ☺ !!!

SEE ALSO: Creating a Worshipful Environment


In closing — the goal of this blog is not performance or ‘doing’ things differently — it’s simply to raise awareness that all of us are actually leaders both on and off platform, and it’s our job to collectively be leading people into the presence of Jesus … whether behind an instrument, console, lighting desk, standing on the front row or back row in the congregation, or worship leading.

When each and every team member realizes they have something to bring and begins to lead out of their own heart and gifting, it’s amazing to see the atmosphere lift and change and see people step into the presence of Jesus like never before.

Everyone matters. Everyone leads from wherever they are.

Much love //