The 90/10 Principle For Worship Leaders

Posted by Luke Perrie on March 23, 2014 Blog | | No comments

80/20 was already taken, so I had to mix it up.

I recently did a worship workshop here in the Atlanta area. One of the questions that was submitted to me before the workshop was this:

“How do we make a better connection with the [crowd/congregation/audience]?”

As I sat down to write out my thoughts to review with them during the workshop, I was so thankful to God for laying something on my heart as I prepared:

Who you are doesn’t change just because you step on a stage.

To put it in the context of the 90/10 principle, I firmly believe that the strength of your “connection” with the audience that you are leading is determined 90% off stage, and 10% on stage.

During the workshops I almost always work with teams on stage presence. Stuff like “keep your eyes open,” “make eye contact,” and “let your face show it” are mainstays that we can almost always work on within a workshop setting. But what I can’t work with teams on, is who they are for all 6 “other” days of the week.

When I talk through this principle, I like to give a small real-world example in the workshops. Imagine that there is a dinner or event before the service, or time where you are leading worship. You as a leader (or you all as the band) are enjoying dinner with those who you will be leading later that day or evening.

Let’s say that in the first example, as dinner progresses, you remain pretty un-interested in the lives of those you will be leading. Maybe, you had a rough day and you are short when answering questions. When dinner ends, you get up and leave the table without really saying anything. Fast forward 30 minutes later, and you step on stage to lead. The people you are supposed to be leading (especially those who were at your table) most likely will have no desire to connect with you as you lead. Honestly, you really haven’t given them a reason to.

Microphone in stage lightsSame table. Second Example. You are really, genuinely interested in the lives of those sitting at your table. You ask honest questions, and focus on encouraging them. When dinner ends, you get up and leave the table…only to return and clear everyone else’s plates and throw them away. Fast forward 30 minutes later, and you step on stage to lead. Now, those whom you are leading look up, and see someone who served them. Now, they often want to connect with you. They may even want to sing with you.

Sometimes when I share this principle, I get this statement: “you are putting way too much focus on the worship leader. After all…this is all about people having a connection with God, isn’t it?”

Of course it is. But God uses people. Singers. Guitarists. Worship Leaders. And those people have to be servants. We, as God’s tools, can either be an obstacle, or a catalyst, for a connection with God.

So how do we actually do this? Here’s how.

  1. Serve the people you lead.
  2. Refer to #1.
  3. Refer to #2.

I know, I hate it when people answer big questions with generic answers too. The problem is that this looks different for each person. Here are several completely random examples to get the creative, servanthood juices flowing:

  1. Buy someone’s lunch.
  2. Offer to give that kid a lift home from soccer practice so he doesn’t have to wait alone at the field.
  3. Stay behind after the event to clean up with the people who are getting paid to do so.
  4. Grab Starbucks for the workers watching your kids at daycare.
  5. Mow the lawn for your neighbor while they are on vacation.
  6. Leave a note for the kid in your class whose Dad walked out last week.
  7. Tell the guy running camera 3 how much you appreciate him. Again.
  8. Invite over that person who sits alone every week during worship.
  9. Spend an extra 20 minutes to listen to the latest update in his roller coaster marriage saga. He probably meant it when he told you that the music was just for him tonight.
  10. Sing and play the hec out of How He Loves. In that lady’s hospital recovery room.

If you need someone to follow…try Jesus. It’s pretty clear in Philippians 2 and John 13:1-17.

Here’s the bottom line: if you want to connect with people while¬†on stage, you had better serve and love them off stage.

This post focused on the 90%. I have a principle that I think makes the 10% really effective. Let’s talk about that in a post coming soon!

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