A few days ago a member of our congregation handed me a piece of paper with the numbers 316 written on it. I thought it was some prophetic reference to John’s gospel. But I quickly realized that it was a song request. Looking me square in the eye, and with all the humility in the world, she said, “pastor could you lead us in this song next week?”
You should know that my wife and I lead worship at our church from time to time. Not something I recommend, especially for the Lead Pastor, but sometimes in order for you to get where you really want to be, you’ll have to help build worship teams. So that is what we are doing.
So as a worship leader, what should you do if a member of your congregation comes to you asking to do a particular song?
Rule number one
As a general rule, your answer should be gracious and polite. You need to be sensitive to the need of the person asking. But, no matter the attitude (good or bad) behind the asking, your answer should be – No! Some people may ask in a certain arrogant way.
For example: Why don’t we do these types of songs? Why do we have to do those songs? Every other church is doing these songs, so why don’t you do them? On the other hand, you may get a very polite, very kind and sweet request. Just like the one I got a few days ago.
In either case, your answer should be – No! As a worship leader, you don’t want to start something you will not be able to sustain. So rule number 1 – graciously say no. Find the right words to say no.
Rule number two
Follow up with an explanation of why you are saying no. Don’t just say thanks, but no thanks. Besides trying to avoid setting precedents (having everyone in church bringing their special song request), you should make people aware that the process of establishing a worship set list is not that simple.
- You spend time praying about which songs to sing each Sunday.
- You choose songs that best fit certain themes for certain seasons or sermon series.
- You follow the lead of your Lead Pasto – who actually is your boss.
Having said that, be thankful that they are trying to help you do your job (ministry), but do not promise that you will take into consideration their request.
Rule number three
Be sensitive to what the Spirit might be saying even through a rebellious child or a gentle servant. It is our duty to stay open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes He will surprise you by speaking to you in unexpected places. Be sensitive to what He is doing.
You may never do a song that was suggested by a member of your congregation. But that does not mean you can never grab your guitar find a corner at church or in somebody’s house and lead them in that song they are longing to hear. Your job as a worship pastor is to feed the flock not just with sound, but with sound lyrics. Be a pastor to the flock by meeting them at the point of need.
By meeting people where they are in such a manner is a great way to avoid taking special song request from every member of your congregation and feeling the guilt of not being able to deliver.
When it come to being asked to do a particular song, Rule number 3 is a trend you want to set in your community
Excellent post Walter. I like your clarity and gentleness.
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thank you Sir!
I received this humbly and tonight I have more insight into a worship leaders ministry. Thank you Walter for sharing this valuable information.
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