What You Say on Stage: Are You Helping or Hurting?
What you say or don’t say from the stage can make or break a worship service! Say too much and your words become a distraction. Don’t say enough and you could miss opportunities to spur the church to greater worship or—even worse—leave them confused and aimless.
Let’s look at the two main categories of “stage talk” that the worship leader needs to use effectively:
1. Instructional. Through vocal cues we help the church know when they should be sitting, standing, singing, reading, shouting, clapping, praying…you get the idea!
Tips for Instructional Stage Talk:
- Be clear. Don’t allow confusion to reign and, thus, distract from the purpose of worship.
- Speak positively and with energy. If our instruction lacks enthusiasm, we can expect half-hearted efforts from our church. Their leader’s heart does not appear to be in it—so why should theirs?
- Use the witticisms sparingly. There’s value in a little humor. But too much cleverness and no one will be able to take you seriously.
- Keep it succinct. Give just enough instruction so that people always have a very clear idea of what’s expected of them in that moment.
- Speak with authority. Make certain the tone of your voice conveys your belief that the church’s corporate worship is sacred, valued by you and by God.
2. Inspirational. There are things the worship leader can say from the stage to enrich the church’s worship, make lyrics come to life, and call hearts to focus.
Ideas for Inspirational Stage Talk:
- Build a bridge. Perhaps you just read a passage of scripture as a church…what can you say to help build a bridge from that passage to the song they’re about to sing or they prayer they’re about to pray?
- Use illustrations. Maybe there’s a way to illustrate a worship theme so it comes to new life in their minds?
- Tell a personal story. Stories from your life can serve to draw your church into worship. Plus, even in very small churches, attenders often struggle to see the guy/gal on stage as “just like them.” Your stories—when appropriate—can help them buy into your leadership more over the long haul.
- Don’t preach! Keep it very limited and intentional. The worship leader who also feels a calling and giftedness to speak should find an appropriate avenue to use those additional gifts. Don’t get me wrong; the right words spoken at the right time can definitely serve to point people to God. But too many words spoken can also serve to derail the church’s worship.
A final piece of advice: Take the time to seriously evaluate your stage-talk because most of us have some sort of nervous energy—positive or negative—that builds up from being in front of folks. And we all handle that a little differently. One person becomes monotonous and stone-faced while another makes everything a joke and so forth. It is our duty to force any distracting quirkiness into submission for the sake of the church! Let’s put everything we say on stage—and the way we say it—under the microscope to determine whether it does the church a service or a disservice.
Do you have a worship leader pet peeve? Something they say from the stage that drives you crazy?