The Worship Leader Is The Prompter

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Many of us have heard the theater analogy of worship services – God is the audience, the worship team help directs and it’s really the congregation who are the performers for God, the audience. 

In our culture, it’s often backwards, and many times with more of a consumeristic mindset. Though we may not believe it technically, we lead and worship in this way:

  • The people in the congregation are the audience
  • Those involved in leading worship were the actors
  • God is the prompter in worship

In a counter-cultural declaration, Kierkegaard flipped this around to say biblical worship should look like this:

  • God is the audience (the only one worthy to judge and receive our worship)
  • Those involved in leading worship are the “prompters” and help the congregation say and do things to glorify Jesus! They guide us on this worship journey. This can be one person, one instrument or it may be a full band and production team or a full orchestra and choir. These are our modern-day prompters and they work really hard at reminding us what to say, when and how. 
  • The people in the congregation are the “actors” or “performers” in worship, offering to God all that they are, loving Him completely with their heart, soul, mind, and strength.

This idea of prompter is interesting to me. Much like a prompter on a screen telling a speaker what to do or say next, the worship leader(s) has a job to prompt the congregation to say and do things that enhance worship. The best prompters do so without anyone really even realizing it. 

Here are some thoughts on being the prompters in worship: 

Show it as much as you say – model it

Verbally inviting people to worship is important, but don’t forget that people will most likely do as you do, not as you say. Invite your team members to help model whole hearted and active worship.

Sense of a “job” as a worship team

Our job is to help everyone sing, to say words that allow them to worship, and to feel comfortable knowing that something is coming next. We’re creating moments for the congregation to experience God’s presence as they lift up the name of the Lord and worship him. So, the worship team both worships and does their job of helping others worship well.

It all works together

Everyone in the worship team can help move toward this goal of being great prompters in worship. Lighting operators can prompt, the video cues can prompt, the energetic and outwardly worshipful vocalist can prompt the congregation to worship, sing and give God glory. It’s not only the band, it’s all aspects of the team. As a leader of worship teams, think of ways to help each of your team members be involved in the prompting.

Great prompting requires knowing where you’re going

Being a great prompter is about knowing what your going and the ultimate goal. This all stems of planning, preparing and prayer. They key to all of this is to allow God to speak in and through you as you lead the church.