Leading Worship – Vocally & Instrumentally

This is a post requiring responses from those women worship leaders out there! ๐Ÿ™‚

When leading worship services, do you lead in vocals only (with others covering the instruments), by playing guitar, piano, a combination of any of these, or something else entirely?


15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jenn Collins
    Oct 11, 2007 @ 19:22:14

    usually it’s just vocals, but i try to play guitar if i know the song/chords well enough.


  2. mandythompson
    Oct 11, 2007 @ 21:15:10

    i play the guitar and sing… i’m the band leader and main “worship leader” but i also like to let other vocalists carry the melody sometimes. it gives my voice a break. and brings in other vocal ranges (for instance: so the guys can sing too!)


  3. A.
    Oct 12, 2007 @ 01:22:33

    I should reply too, even though I’m not a worship leader per say now, just taking part as a leader along with our other praise team members — singing & playing flute/whistle. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Despite that, I’m working on my piano skills, since I do play & have played on rare occasion during worship… Playing for contemporary stuff is a whole different ball game it seems! I’m working on it though, preparing for whatever the future holds… ๐Ÿ™‚ Singing while playing is definitely a challenge at times!


  4. Jan Owen
    Oct 12, 2007 @ 01:31:26

    I lead vocally and that is all! I used to lead from a guitar when we were truly desperate for musicians, but I really am much more comfortable leading and being able to move around and not worrying about playing. When I am leading (some Sundays I have others lead) I lead almost all of the songs. This is not always true, but 95% of the time I do – as do the other leaders when they lead. It allows me to control the flow a bit better – if I want to repeat or something. Our team seems to feel more comfortable with this as well.


  5. A.
    Oct 12, 2007 @ 01:51:29

    Jan, it’s so reassuring to know others out there do this (of course, Darlene Zschech does, but she has tons of other qualified people playing & singing with her, too!)


  6. Amy
    Oct 12, 2007 @ 05:53:41

    I lead both from the piano and out front alone with a microphone. There seems to be a couple of opinions about how I am most effective in leading worship. One camp really likes when I lead from the piano because they enjoy how our group plays and sounds when I play the piano while leading. There is another camp that finds it more difficult to follow me because they are not used to having the leader behind the piano. They prefer to have someone out front leading. When I do my guided quiet time for women I lead from the piano and usually play alone. I think it is a generational thing.


  7. mandythompson
    Oct 12, 2007 @ 13:09:22

    Our previous worship leader did the same – she was also the baby grand player… We had similar responses from people (like, they couldn’t see her when she’d talk between songs) so eventually she grabbed the mic & stood up a couple of times.
    That made it easier for the congregation to follow her – they knew who was talking and could watch her.
    I guess is just depends on how much “leadership” some people need… How much do they need others’ guidance to get through the service, or are they gonna worship even when nobody’s leading them at all….? How comfortable are they with the worship experience as a whole….? I think this makes a difference as well.


  8. Amy
    Oct 12, 2007 @ 16:11:05


    It really has to do with preference. So many discussions about worship this past year for me has centered around people’s preference. I think that our Worship Pastor has one of the hardest jobs in the church. He has to process so many opinions.

    Just think that if you are musician you are an artist. Most artists are sensitive people, who take in everyone’s opinion. You also share a big part of yourself when you share your art. I don’t know how I would stand up to all the pressure of pleasing a throng of believers. I know that if God called me to a higher leadership position with leading worship then I would have to deal with it with God’s help.


  9. mandythompson
    Oct 12, 2007 @ 16:27:13


    i think you’re right….
    at the end of the day its a question of “preference”…. we [we being the endless list of participants in this endless conversation re: worship] always seem to end on preference in these discussions. oftentimes the church gets focused on “us” and not “Him”….

    even me.

    how does it always end up that way? for us worship leaders, its quite a battle to forget ourselves as artists and focus on serving the people… its a huge challenge because, you’re right, we throw ourselves out there in the process. and then the masses will tell us if they liked or didn’t like that song or that guitar lick or that vocalist or that style…. etc etc etc.
    and, when they do give input, its a GREAT reminder that we’re not up there for us and we’re not up there “for” them…. we’re up there to get them to God. so, it doesn’t matter if we’re singing or playing or both, as long as we’re doing our best, as worship intercessors, to connect them to God.

    maybe one day, probably on the other side of heaven, we’ll be in a worship setting where we don’t care at ALL how its done, because it’ll all be about WHO its done for!

    one day…..
    ’til then, we have to do our best just to get “us” to focus on Him.


  10. bellissimanh
    Oct 13, 2007 @ 01:47:56

    I generally just sing, although if our pianist is out, then I take over there too… and I play flute as well, but not often.


  11. bernice scott
    Oct 16, 2007 @ 08:58:40

    I am music director of a smallish but growing fellowship – I lead with vocals from the keyboard (this is something I have grown into over several years, starting off just playing the piano). I get our male vocalists to do parts of songs, introductions etc.

    It’s wonderful when the Holy Spirit takes the entire worship offering in whatever direction He chooses, and as worship leaders we are there to please the Lord & serve the people – not the other way round as many would have it!! We are not there to make people worship – only to facilitate them being able to enter into the holy of holies: if they choose to do so.

    I find that waiting on the Lord for short, relevant biblical input for the team, & having regular times of chat & discussion together before our weekly practice session brings about great unity & openness. The time that this counts is when we are actually leading on the platform – a close, united & supportive team relationship is of inestimable value, especially when you are a women leading a team mostly comprised of men!


  12. Bridget
    Oct 17, 2007 @ 20:41:30

    Originally I lead only by vocals. After a coup d’etat, I started playing piano.


  13. Rish
    Oct 18, 2007 @ 00:38:57

    I lead worship with my guitar or using the piano or keyboard and vocals. I am the worship pastor at the church, and do most of the worship leading…

    Just another Women who loves the Lord and is serving the cause and the kingdom…..

    God Bless:-)


  14. worship1
    Oct 18, 2007 @ 21:40:51

    I usually sing lead and play the guitar. Our worship team is continually changing so having a guitar driven team makes it easy to bring in other instruments to fill out the team. Whether they come or go the main instrument never changes. Of course that doesn’t mean always being guitar driven. Changing the lead instrument in different songs is a wonderful way of affecting mood during a worship set.



  15. Agnes Trampe
    Jan 25, 2008 @ 19:59:46

    It has been my experience that the more I do as a leader, the less opportunities for growth are available for others within the team. The more I released others to grow and encouraged others to “play skillfully” to the Lord, the more my team members surprised me and the more God moves. When I lead congregationally, I am blessed to be free to only do vocals and focusing completely in serving God in that area. In a more intimate setting (home groups or small ladies’ retreats), I prefer to play acoustic guitar, if needed. It is a great pleasure serving others and encouraging personal growth not only in the Lord, but also musically.


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