Apr 13

A Song Leader’s Guide…Pt. 3

GuideBookSince February we have been following a series of three lessons that focus on the responsibilities of the song leader, otherwise known as the Song Leader’s Guide. This last of three articles will be centered around the Three “P’s” of song leading; Proactive, Practice and Plan. Though this article may over lap with the first point (being prepared), I hope you’ll find the “Three P’s of song leading” to be more focused on how you approach and lead the Lord’s church in singing. Just remember we should work as though you’re working for God… Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

And finally, a basic guideline for all song leaders is to follow the “three P’s” of song leading. Be Proactive, be willing to Practice and be able to Plan. This approach will teach the congregation that singing is not just something we do, but rather the proactivevalue in singing hymns. Being ‘Proactive’ means you work on getting to know the song book better. Whether you use a book or project songs, review them and determine which songs you personally know and which ones you don’t. Go over each song (in the book or on the screen) and know what you’re doing well before Sunday morning. If you project songs, do not to rely on the church secretary to build the slide deck for you. Take the time to learn this procedure and know what’s on the screen behind you.

Though we addressed ‘Practicing’ earlier, here we should be more focused on practicing with the congregation as a whole. This is best done in a class setting on Sunday evening before services or on Wednesday nights. Some might want to limit this class to one quarter per year, or once a month but you will be better served to keep this as an ongoing class. Make singing something that is more than just 8 songs on Sunday morning, 6 on Sunday night and 1 or 2 songs on Wednesday. Fifteen or sixteen songs of praise per week seem to limit the Hebrew writer’s thoughts. Hebrews 13:15, “Through Him then, let us CONTINUALLY (emphasis added) offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” So let us use some class time to learn new songs (practice) as well as Congregational Singing2singing old familiar ones (praise). You can even shake it up on occasion by splitting the group up into four parts and learn/practice harmony. But remember to practice by yourself so you know how to better lead and teach the congregation.

And as you ‘Plan’ out an approach to teaching the congregation the value of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19), be sure you are familiar with and know the value of the songs we sing. Some of our songs date back hundreds of years and have a rich history we can learn from. Others are closely aligned with scripture and shed a new light on an old hymn. Some of our newer, ‘contemporary’ songs have a magnificent message that we’ll never know if we don’t broaden our repertoire. But as you plan, always check the integrity of the songs we sing (new or old) with scriptural accuracy. We strive to avoid heresy in our preaching, and so we must also be aware that it can creep into our singing as well. When we are attentive to planning out the song service, we are more apt to avoid any accidental error. Be proactive, practice and plan so that you can be the best song leader God is calling you to be.

We know that Sunday morning will come on the first day of each week and we might be the one called on to lead the congregation in song. When do we start selecting our songs? What songs will we select? Will we (Do we) prepare ourselves before we meet together for worship? These and many more questions are ours to Cover pictureanswer long before Sunday morning comes around. Just remember that we are leading the family of God in praise to Him. For some, this will be the first and only time during the week that they bow before God’s throne to worship. Will they see Him or will they be distracted by us? My prayer is that as song leaders in the Lord’s church, we will take on the mantra of I Cor. 14:15, “Church, come join us…we’re marching to Zion!”

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