Band Leading – Jono Kirk
1. Give permission to engage.
As song leaders our role is to help lift the eyes of the congregation from the things of this world to our Glorious King and Saviour. By engaging in the songs, allowing ourselves to feel emotion, the joy that comes from knowing Christ we give permission to the congregation to do the same.
2. Relax, Smile and Loosen Up.
A good friend of mine often says walking onto a stage makes someone 50% more boring. With that in mind we need to be conscious that how we conduct ourselves can set a tone for an entire service. People will take their lead from the song leader. Realistically if you consider time spent out front on any given Sunday, aside from the preacher you (the song leader) are the second most visible person. I like to challenge myself every service to focus on 1 thing that will improve my engagement with the congregation.
Don’t be a karaoke song leader. So often song leaders turn up on the day with no preparation and expect to lead well. This not only dishonours your band, but it really dishonours the God we serve. Given our role is to lead the congregation, song leader prep should be almost more important than band prep. Read the Preparing for a Sunday blog for tips on how to prepare.
4. Your voice is an instrument.
Whilst we are leading people in singing, we have to realise we are also part of the band and the sound that get produced. How we use our voice in songs can really add or subtract to the overall sound. Talk with your band leader about how they would like you to use your voice dynamically. If you aren’t the main song leader for a song they might get you to pull off the mic for a verse or two, sing a harmony in the chorus or verse 2 or sing up or down the octave to give the congregation a variable melody line.
5. Creative Cues and Exhortations.
If you are the main song leader for a song think creatively about how you cue the congregation and lead them through a song. If the congregation seem a little uncertain or if you want to emphasize a phrase, then you might sing or speak the next line over the chord progression leading in. Likewise using encouragements and biblical exhortations during a song or transition can be exceptionally helpful in transitioning people’s minds out of the stress of life and into the realisation of who we worship and praise.