The song leader fills an important role. He has a definite impact on the spirit of our worship.
- The leader can either put you to sleep or put you in the proper frame of mind to worship our Lord.
- A good song leader can make a bad preacher sound good, but a bad song leader can make the best preacher sound bad.
Always remember that the purpose of our singing is to worship God and edify one another (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16).
The singing does not exist for entertainment. To those unused to true Christian worship, our services might not have a great appeal. However, every element of our worship should be done with the best that we are capable of giving.
Some Suggestions for Song Leaders
- Announce the number of the song twice, using a different method each time. Example: "Our next hymn will be number one hundred thirty-four; that's number one three four.
- Speak so that all can hear you. Don't announce the song as you are walking up to the front. Wait until you have reached the front and are facing the audience.
- Announce before the song which stanzas you are planning to sing. Give thought in advance as to which verses to include. Don't get into the habit of skipping the next to last verse just because.
- Sing out strongly, especially at the beginning of the song. Remember, you are the leader, not the follower. Stand up straight with your head held up so your voice projects.
- The first few measures of a song are critical. It is from these first notes that the rest of the congregation will find their pitch and pick up the rhythm and speed of the song.
- Learn to use a pitch pipe or at least give the first note of the song before starting. This will get the audience's attention and have the starting note in their head so that they start with you and not two or three notes into the song.
- Even if you don't know how to beat a song, raise and lower your hand at the start of a song so everyone can start together.
- Watch the tempo of the song. Cheerful songs should be sung with a lively tempo. Solemn songs should be sung at a stately pace.
- Give sufficient time between songs so that people can find the next selection. Don't be in a hurry. Watch that most have finished turning their pages or wait until the rustling of pages has died down.
- Watch the time. This will affect how many songs and how many verses you should lead. Don't leave the preacher with the task of making up for the lost time.
- Don't announce the song following a prayer until after the prayer. Otherwise, some folks will be fumbling with their songbooks when they should be thinking about praying.
- Announce the song for after the lesson before turning the services over to the preacher. Ask the people to mark the song. This will allow you to start the final song just as the preacher finishes.
- Be ready to start the invitation song immediately when the preacher so indicates. Sit where you can easily make your way to the front. If you are in a large auditorium, quietly move up to the front off to the side as the preacher is making his concluding remarks. This way you won't have to begin the song from the back row.
- If you feel the need to instruct the audience about a particular song, or about their singing in general, be kind and tactful.
Some Thoughts About Song Selection
- Use a well-known song for your first selection. This will get everyone's voices warmed up and their attitude into the right spirit.
- Select songs appropriate for the occasion. Ask the preacher in advance what his topic will be and find songs that will turn people's minds in the right direction.
- Select songs for their appropriateness in that part of the service. For example, the song "Break Thou the Bread of Life" is appropriate before a reading or sermon, but the words have nothing to do with the bread of the Lord's Supper.
- Be careful about choosing a new or unfamiliar song. Save these for practice nights. Use better-known songs during gospel meetings and during worship on Sunday.
- Be careful about picking songs that have a dominant part other than soprano. Be sure you have members in the audience who can sing these parts. You might want to have an alternative selection in case you don't have the people to sing the needed parts.
- Make sure the thoughts of the songs you select are scriptural. Just because they are in our songbook, it doesn't mean that everyone is correct or appropriate.
Be prepared to lead a song.