Because the term “worship leader” means so many different things to so many  people, it is always best to see what Scripture has to say about the role of  worship and those who lead corporate worship. True  worship, whether corporate or individual, has several major components, as  described in Romans  12:1-2. First, the motivation to worship is “the mercies of God” which  embodies all He has given us, none of which we deserve. Second, the manner of  worship is the presentation of our bodies, including our hearts, minds, hands,  thoughts, and attitudes to God. Third, our worship involves renewing our minds  through the Word of God. To know the truth, to believe the truth, to hold  convictions about the truth, and to love the truth will naturally result in true  spiritual worship. Fourth, true worship is God-centered, not man-centered. The  purpose of worship is not to produce an emotional experience, but to acknowledge  God’s singular worthiness to be worshipped. So the first duty and responsibility  of those who desire to lead others in worship must be to first understand the  nature of worship itself.

Although the New Testament does not name  “worship leader” as one of Christ’s gifts for the edification of the church (Ephesians  4:11-12), worship leaders are common in the modern church. If the worship  leader is to lead, he must lead by example, and his life, therefore, must  exemplify that of the true worshipper. As with all leaders in the body of  Christ, his must be first spiritual leadership. He must be the first to bow  before God in humility and obedience. Just as the high priest had to sacrifice  for his own sins first, so must the worship leader ensure he has scraped away  the hardness from his heart and loosened the stiffness of his neck before he can  begin to lead others. It is the primary duty of a worship leader, therefore, to  be aligned with God’s will and to be humble before the great and awesome God. He  must lead in humility and genuine concern for those under his care.

Because worship leader is not a biblical office for the church, his role is  somewhat indistinct. Most worship leaders are musicians of some kind, whether  vocal or instrumental, and their primary role is to lead the other  musicians/singers that are involved in the service. It is the responsibility of  the worship leader to ensure that it is not the music, nor the instruments, nor  the presentation, nor the voices which are the focus of the worship service.  Worship is bowing humbly before God and exalting Jesus Christ as King of kings  and Lord of lords. The responsibility of the worship leader is to become less,  that Jesus Christ can become more. And when all of this is done, when hearts are  humble before Him, His people are ready to receive, and be changed by, the focal  point of the worship service—His glorious and living Word.