By David Manner

As worship leaders, we don’t often consider evaluating our own leadership until we receive complaints about something we are or aren’t doing or singing. When those criticisms occur, consequently, our responses are usually defensive rather than redemptive.

Preemptive self-evaluation is preventive and proactive rather than defensive and reactive. So in order to avert or deter a more unfavorable assessment of what we are presently doing, we should first ask some hard questions of ourselves. The following list is not an exhaustive one but hopefully a place to begin.

1.        Are the services I plan and lead easy to follow or are they disorganized and disjointed?

2.        Is the pace of our service appropriate for our congregation?

3.        Are my verbal instructions and transitions random or prepared?

4.        Am I encouraging passive worshipers by doing too many things for them?

5.        Do the people I put on the platform represent the cultural and generational characteristics of our congregation?

6.        Are the primary reasons I enlist worship team members musical or spiritual ones?

7.        Are the songs I lead on the platform evident in the life I lead off the platform?

8.        Am I selecting songs just because I like them?

9.        Do I select song keys to encourage congregational participation or to highlight my own vocal range?

10.     Are the songs I select theologically sound and biblically accurate?

11.     Are any of my artistic, visual, verbal, or musical expressions contrived or distracting?

12.     Am I conveying that our worship starts and stops when I stop and start it?

13.     Do I begin worship planning each week with song titles or scripture and prayer?

14.     Besides the latest songs, am I learning anything new?

15.     Since Sunday isn’t a Sabbath for me, when am I taking one?

16.     Do I ask how something might impact my family before asking how it might impact my worship leadership?

17.     Am I surrounding myself with those who can protect me from my own stupidity?

18.     Am I worshiping privately before leading publicly?

19.     Does it seem as if I don’t really care whether the congregation is singing or not?

20.     Do I wake up every morning feeling unqualified in my own power to do what God has called me to do?

21.     Am I taking care of myself spiritually, emotionally, physically, and relationally?

22.     Am I using worship service prayer as a segue instead of a divine conversation?

23.     Do I ever welcome divine interruptions in my service planning and leading?

24.     Am I casting vision for the future without denigrating the past?

25.     Do I determine the worship language of my congregations based on how I might appear to other worship leaders?

26.     Am I able to worship when I’m not the primary leader?

27.     Is my worship leading a calling or just convenient?

28.     Am I leading worship because I don’t know how to do anything else?

29.     Am I pouring into younger leaders or protecting my territory?

30.     Am I threatened when someone on the team plays or sings better than I do?

31.     Am I depending on my musical skill to do what it’s only possible for God to do?

32.     Do I act like a gatekeeper that holds my congregation captive to style and structure?

33.     Does it seem like the services I’m planning place more focus on the creative or the Creator?

34.     Am I spending more of my time developing musical skills or relationship skills?

35.     Do I find myself faking it more and more often?

36.     Am I approachable, available, and accountable?

37.     Am I more concerned with right notes than right relationships?

38.     Do I act more like a cheerleader than a worship leader?

39.     Is it evident from my worship response that I’m no longer amazed by God’s revelation?

40.     Does my leading lean toward manipulation instead of exhortation?

41.     Do I always seem to disappear when it’s time to set up or tear down?

42.     Am I showing up to rehearsals unprepared?

43.     Do I treat the worship team like backup musicians?

44.     Do I ever use my artistry as an excuse for laziness?

45.     Am I coasting at the first of the week and then having to scramble at the end of the week?

46.     Is the worship I’m leading challenging our congregation to be doers and not just hearers?

47.     Am I regularly praying for and with those I lead?

48.     Are the songs I’m selecting offering a good balance of celebration and contemplation?

49.     Am I offering a healthy balance of both familiar and new songs?

50.     Am I just as much of a worship leader on Monday as I was on Sunday?

This post first appeared on David’s blog, WorshipEvaluation.com. It is reposted here with permission. 

Book Helps Worship Teams Evaluate Worship Services

Better Sundays Begin on Mondays: 52 Exercises for Evaluating Weekly Worship offers foundational worship considerations to help leadership teams ask questions evaluatively rather than defensively. These weekly reflections encourage worship leaders and their teams to think beyond style to biblical and theological worship content.

Print and E-Version copies are available here.

David is a frequent contributor to this blog.