By Phil Gifford

For two years I served on our state convention staff in the area for equipping worship ministries and leaders for our 500 churches. As I woke up this morning, I was burdened for worship leaders specifically in this COVID-19 world. I had ten fresh thoughts on how worship leaders can lead well in this season when there aren’t really “worship services” to lead.

1. Teach Worship

We’ve taught for a long time as worship leaders how worship is not just a Sunday morning experience, but it should be a lifestyle we live each day. Now is the time when we can actually teach people to fully live this out, but you must lead the way. You can send emails that teach your church broadly about worship. Post videos that teach worship and look at various Scripture passages on worship. You can start virtual Bible studies that teach worship. You can take songs and make devotionals based on the message of that song.

2. Train Your Team

Why not use this time of slowing down in your worship production to teach your team more deeply about their role as worship leaders? Read a book together and discuss it. Have your team walk through online classes or training. Create a curriculum of YouTube videos or blog posts for each person in their respective musical or serving area.

3. Deepen Your Theology

Look at this season as a chance to also deepen yourself. Read some good and rich theology books. Memorize some Scripture. Learn more about God, His glory, His grace, and the grand biblical narrative. Come out on the other side of this with a new depth of understanding that will help lead God’s people at a greater level.

4. Pastoral Care

As worship leaders, you already shepherd and care for people through worship. Now you can shepherd them through a crisis. Reach out to your team. Find ways to pray for them and connect them together. Look for ways to help serve the broader church in care. Worship will be a means to care for people in this crisis. Think of the fears worship can help put into perspective. Think about the practical needs you can help meet.

5. Learn a New Worship-Leading Skill

Why not use this time to explore a new skill as a worship leader? Is there an instrument you’ve wanted to learn? Have you always wanted to be able to lead from the piano or lead from an electric guitar? Use some time now to invest in your own skill sets as a musician and worship leader.

6. Production Help

Most of our churches are moving toward online church services and ministries. You and your team are probably the best situated to help in your own church or other churches around you make this happen well. Help your pastor and leaders create great videos and content to share with the congregation as we connect digitally.

7. Virtual Music Lessons

I’ve seen a couple of churches offering virtual music lessons already. Consider blocking off time when you can teach guitar, piano, or other instruments. Get your team to do the same in whatever skills they have. Who knows, maybe in a year you will have a whole new group of young musicians for your church because of this investment.

8. Streaming Worship Nights

Consider doing some livestreaming worship experiences for people throughout the week. You can bring a small team together (assuming this is still safe and within the guidelines of the government) and offer prayer and worship songs. Be sure your church has a streaming license to do this legally.

9. Clean Up Stuff

When I was a worship leader, we always had messes that went unattended. Consider your sound closet and that special box of junk cables. If you lead a more traditional church, take some time to inventory and purge your choral music. Think about cleaning out files on Pro-Presenter or whatever you are using for media.

10. Produce and prepare new music

Lastly, why not produce and prepare new music. What songs do you want to sing when people get back together? What do you want to have ready and build now? What songs can you write during this season? Psalm 40:3 talks about God putting a new song in our mouths. What new and powerful songs will you bring to God on the other side of this trail?

One of Matt Redman’s older songs, The Heart of Worship, talks about what happens to worship “when all is stripped away.” We have a great opportunity in this season when a lot of what we think of as worship has been taken away, but we can help our people and ourselves learn what worship is really all about.