Worship leaders have many things to juggle while leading their church in worship. They must make sure their band is in sync and have close communication with their pastor in case they decide to change something. They also must play the songs and sing them correctly all while posturing their hearts in worship in front of a group of people. One of the most essential things a worship leader must do is to truly praise God while playing. If they are not worshipping, then they are not leading worship; they are just leading songs.
In a celebrity-driven culture that has infiltrated the church, it is now more important than ever for worship leaders to set themselves apart in service to the Lord. That is why worship leaders must be worshippers first and invite their congregations into the same posture of adoration and praise. One way worship leaders can model for their church to respond to God in worship is for them to lift their hands while leading the church.
The Bible often talks about lifting our hands in praise to the Lord. To do this is an act of worship and an outward response to an inward revelation of the worthiness of God. There are many ways to worship, and lifting our hands is just one expression that we see commonly in our churches.
So why is it important to raise your hands when leading worship? Here’s a list of five reasons why worship leaders should lift their hands while playing:
As stated before, the Bible talks about lifting your hands in worship to God. There are 7 Hebrew words used for the word “praise” in the Bible. Each of those words is translated as “praise” in English, but they have unique and distinct implications in the original language of Hebrew. One of these seven words is “yadah.” This word is translated simply as “praise” in English, but it actually means something more in Hebrew. Yadah means “to revere or worship with extended hands. To hold out the hands. To throw a stone or arrow.” You can find “yadah” in Psalm 67:3, “May the peoples praise (yadah) you, God; may all the peoples praise (yadah) you.”
This is a great starting point when studying what the Bible teaches us about praising the Lord. Studying the scriptures helps us when leading worship and gives us a greater understanding of how and why we worship the way we do.
Leading by Example
One of the best ways to lead is by example! If a worship leader is asking their congregation to lift their hands in worship, then they should lead the way by doing it themselves first. Simply put, worship leaders shouldn’t expect their congregation to do something they wouldn’t do themselves. A worship leader’s freedom and surrender in worship will help others be free and surrendered to worship God as well.
Faith Stirs up Faith
Seeing someone full of faith will stir up faith in others as well. It’s similar to hearing someone’s testimony and thinking, “If God can do it for them, then He can do it for me.” Being in a room of people who are worshipping God with all their hearts, minds, and strength is moving. It greatly impacts those who are seeking God and want to know more about Him. It stirs up their faith.
As mentioned earlier, lifting your hands in worship is an outward sign of an inward revelation of God’s worthiness. Worship leaders must have this revelation and lead others to know the goodness of God as well. Such an act of praise can often inspire others to follow. It may grow in them a desire for a closer walk with Jesus and to earnestly seek Him.
Leading with Humility and Killing Performance
Lifting your hands in worship is an act of humility. Worship leaders shouldn’t be trying to impress a crowd with how relevant or appealing they are. When a believer is honest and open with their adoration of God they don’t care how they look. The Bible says in Colossians 3:12, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Seeing a humble and authentic worship leader will soften hardened hearts and cultivate interest in skeptical newcomers. Humility and authenticity are what church leaders need when speaking or singing from the platform. God sees the heart, and He knows what our inner motivations are. People aren’t blind either and can see when a worship leader lacks humility. That is why it is important to lift your hands when leading worship in an act of humility.
It’s not about show; it is about surrender. The Sunday morning setlist is not a performance to get through. Many people feel as if the church has fallen into too much of a performance mentality and lacks authenticity. Worship leaders may feel tempted to perform and produce a flawless Sunday morning gathering for many reasons. It is important to remember that worship leaders are servants of God and not professional music artists.
Lifting your hands when leading worship can help you kill the performance mentality. Performance has been said to be a huge distraction and turn-off for many people coming into our churches these days. It is so important for worship leaders to come back to the servant-hearted and humble place of leadership. When worship leaders truly worship and lead in a way that shows that, there will be no thoughts of performance on anyone’s mind.
Your Leadership Impacts the Worship Team
As a worship leader, not only do you lead the congregation, but you also lead your worship team. Some of the most impactful ministry you do will be to the team that is around you at rehearsals, worship gatherings, and team nights. Your team is always watching you and gleaning from your leadership. Their attitude about worship and serving will reflect your attitude about worship and serving. It is a very impactful position to be in.
When leading, you should lift your hands because it will help your worship team to feel comfortable doing it as well. There’s something powerful about seeing an electric guitar player lifting their hands in worship during an out part of a song or moment. Having a band that is comfortable with expressing their worship from the platform will encourage your congregation to have the freedom to do so as well. It also builds trust in your leadership when the congregation sees your team worshipping in freedom and authenticity.
As you can see, it can be very impactful when worship leaders lift their hands while playing. The most important part of a worship leader’s job is to be a servant and worshipper of the Lord. If you are a worship leader, be encouraged to lift your hands and be authentic and bold before your congregation. Value pleasing God over pleasing man, humble yourself, and die to performance. Teach your congregation how to worship and why it is important to join in corporately in the many expressions of worship. Show your team that serving God is more important than everything else. Lift your hands in faith and adoration when you lead your church, and watch your church transform into a place that holds nothing back from God.