How to Know When You’ve Succeeded As a Worship Leader

I’m a fixer. I absolutely love to fix things. I also love clarity. The great thing about the business of “fixing things” is that it’s extremely clear when I’m successful and extremely clear when I’m not. Does the lawn mower cut grass after I’m done “fixing it?” Yes: Success! No: Fail! If only all of life’s endeavors communicated success this clearly.

I’m a worshiper. I absolutely love to worship and I absolutely love bringing others along with me. However, if I’m honest, the ambiguity of knowing whether or not I was successful at doing so has always been a challenge for me.

How do I measure my success as a worship leader? Do I place all of the praises and criticisms of my “performance” on the scale to determine which one wins out? Or, do I measure it based on the number of raised hands versus blank stares before me on a Sunday? Or worse yet, do I base it on how I felt?

Honestly, over the years I’ve used each one of these methods, and others, to measure my success as a worship leader. At the end of the day, I’ve found them to be unreliable.

Now, I’m not necessarily saying these things are completely useless when it comes to evaluating a worship service, just that I don’t believe that any one of them is fit to have the final say as to whether or not I was successful.

I wonder if Jesus has any light to shed on this topic. Hmm…

He does! According to John 17:4 Jesus considered Himself very successful: “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work You gave me to do.”

Somehow, the fact that the very ones He came to serve wanted to erase Him from the face of the earth didn’t tarnish His sense of success. Nor did He let the fact that the number of His followers dwindled down to almost nothing affect it.

So what gives? How did Jesus measure His success?

I believe His words in John 8:29 give us our answer: “I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.”

Lest we make this verse irrelevant to us by playing the “Well, He was Jesus” card, allow me to bring it down to our level.

Jesus’ personal sense of success did not come from external factors like how people responded to Him. His sense of success came from a clear conscience that resulted from the belief that, to the best of His knowledge, He was doing all that God had asked Him to do.

So, how does this apply to me as a worship leader? Well, ultimately, my sense of success is not determined by people’s response to my leadership. It is determined by a clear conscience that, to the best of my knowledge, I’m doing what I believe God has asked me to do as a worship leader.

(NOTE: If the whole congregation gets mad and throws rotten fruit at me every time I lead, then there is a problem that needs addressing but I hesitate to conclude that it’s because I am a failure.)

What has God asked me to do as a worship leader?

I believe He’s called me first and foremost to be a worshiper with my life, not only my vocal cords.

Next, out of this love relationship with Him, He’s called me to take on the mindset of a servant and assist others in encountering Him in worship.

He’s asked me to do this prayerfully and to do it using all of the gifts, natural and spiritual, He’s given me (not someone else). This includes my spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality, experience, favorite color, nunchuck skills etc…

Last but not least, He’s asked me to trust Him to make clear to me the areas I need to grow in and choose not live in unhealthy introspection.

When I do these things, regardless of how people respond to my leadership, I can know that I am successful as a worship leader. When I do what pleases Him, I am successful.

“It is our constant ambition to be pleasing to Him” (2 Corinthians 5:9 AMP).