3 Tips for Speaking During Worship

Posted by Chris Denning on April 06, 2017.

Author: Chris Denning

You’ve taken the time to plan out a great set of music, helping to prepare a time for your church family to worship together – even crafting moments where you’re going to share your heart or teach about one of the songs you’re singing. But have you thought about what you’re going to say?

Worship leaders seem to have this weird assumption that just because God has gifted them as a musician, they are going to be a great orator as well. While that natural talent can translate for some people, most of us have to grow the skill of speaking in front of people, especially if we want to make sense.

Let’s be honest for a minute: Have you ever listened back to a recording of yourself when you shared or spoke during a worship set? Did you make sense? Did you stumble over your words and did you have a clear point you were trying to communicate? Things tend to sound different in our heads than when we speak them out.

If our pastors are spending anywhere from 10-20 hours a week preparing their sermon, we should also be spending intentional time crafting what we’re going to say in these moments and how we’re going to say them. 

Here are three practical tips when it comes to speaking during worship.

1. Have a Clear, Intentional Point

One of the most far-reaching problems worship leaders face when speaking during worship is not having a clear point. When we don’t have a place we are trying to land, we tend to end up rambling and going on and on and talking about things that don’t really connect and maybe even bringing up… See what I did there?

My advice is when you’re planning a time for you to speak during a worship set, answer this question: What is the one thing you need to communicate during this time? Once you answer that, you’ll have the core of your message and can start to work out from there. 

Resist the temptation to be overly complicated. Simple gets remembered.

Resist the temptation to be overly complicated. Simple gets remembered.

Let me note that I’m not talking about those spontaneous moments where we lead out. That is a different skill set and not what we’re talking about here.

2. Be Aware of Your Pace

Have you ever listened to someone who spoke quickly? They’re often difficult to understand, and you tend to zone out after a few moments. What about someone who speaks… very… slowly? That’s almost worse, kind of like torture (if you’ve seen the DMV scene in Zootopia, you know what I’m talking about). 

When you’re speaking during a worship set, you want to be easily understood. My advice is to speak like you’re having a conversation with someone, rather than giving a nervous presentation to your 9th grade science class. A poor choice of pacing will negate even the most insightful thoughts.

A poor choice of pacing will negate even the most insightful thoughts.

Use space intentionally and purposefully. There are statements you’ll want to put out there and give a beat for people to consider it rather than jumping right into the next sentence. Space can be useful, but tricky; be sure to not err on the side of awkward silence.

3. Theological Correctness Matters

I’ve seen it way too many times where worship leaders begin to speak without really preparing, and they end up saying something that is theologically incorrect. They don’t mean to say something theologically incorrect, but because they are thinking of what they’re going to say and how they’re going to say it on the fly, they don’t have the extra brain RAM to dedicate to determining whether what they are saying is theologically correct or not.

While this may not seem like a big deal to some, let me assure you that being theologically correct when you speak from stage matters. A lot. Just like it would be unacceptable for your pastor to say something that isn’t theologically correct, it’s equally irresponsible for worship leaders to be careless. 

We’re helping to shape how our church family thinks about God with what we say. Let’s take the care we should to ensure that we’re speaking truth about Him. And if you find that you say something incorrect in the moment, take a moment and correct yourself. Don’t feel the need to appear as if you know everything or are perfect. Authenticity breeds trust, especially over time. 

About the Author

Chris Denning | T w
Chris is a worship leader, writer, and consultant who has a passion to help other creatives serve the Church even better. He’s the Creative Arts Pastor at Journey Church, writer at cdenning.com, and the Chief Guru at PCOGuru, a consulting company focused on helping churches with their Planning Center Online products. Chris lives outside of Charlotte, NC with his beautiful wife, Abrie, and sweet daughter, Addison.

2 Comments

  1. Here’s a tip… DON’T speak during worship; let the music speak for itself. I go to a church where the worship leader(s) feel the need to verbally tie every song into the theme. I call these ‘mini-sermons.’ They’re often times painfully long, painfully uninteresting and painfully cliche. They must go!

    1. Good thought John. I agree that we don’t need mini-sermons to go with every song, space in worship is just as important as anything else.

      I talk about this concept as a spectrum, with the two ends being “Song Singers” and “2nd Lead Pastors.” Looks like this:

      SONG SINGERS_______|_______2ND LEAD PASTORS

      I don’t think worship leaders are meant to get up and just crank out a few tunes and get off the stage. That’s just a Song Singer. There is a pastoral element to leading worship, and I think that’s where this topic of speaking comes into play.

      I also don’t think, to your point, that WL’s need to add something about every single song they are singing. These are the 2nd Lead Pastors. Aint nobody got time for that.

      I believe there is a balance and that each gathering is unique, which requires us to lean more one way than the other as needed. Our job as WL’s is to be sensitive to this and to learn how we can manage that tension well.


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