One of my least favorite things in the world is leading worship alone. It can feel extremely intimidating. It might be because I don’t consider myself a particularly wonderful vocalist, and I like having the band help drown me out. But I have had enjoyable experiences leading worship alone.
In fact, leading a solo worship set can actually be a freeing experience if you embrace it. Instead of focusing on leading the band, you can direct all your attention to those in the congregation. You can see where they are and say things when necessary.
Here are five things to consider when leading worship alone that will help you create an engaging worship experience.
1. Don’t Apologize for the Lack of Band
If you’re apologetic for leading worship alone or expressing your disappointment that you don’t have a band with you, the congregation will feel the same way. Instead, own it. Be bold and dominate the experience. Some of the most exciting worship experiences I’ve been involved in have been led by just one guy with a guitar.
2. Don’t Focus on Your Skills as a Musician
It can be tempting to play your most complex chords and use your most advanced techniques when you’re leading worship alone. It makes sense, because this is your opportunity to be heard without being drowned out by other band members. But you don’t need to do this. You’re leading worship, not playing a coffee shop. Focus on what comes naturally. Depending on your skill as a musician, that might be rather complex. If you’re more of a beginner, it might mean simple chord structures. But as you play effortlessly, the worship experience will feel effortless. That’s a great experience to be part of.
3. Be Inviting
The huge opportunity you have in leading worship alone is that people aren’t intimidated. It’s just you and your instrument, not a rock band with huge amplification. Be personal and personable. Invite people along for the journey of worship. This means you can feel free to talk a bit more. You can interject instructions in the middle of a song. Be flexible and work with the congregation.
4. Use Dynamics
Play softly and loudly. Sing loudly and softly. Since you don’t have the band to back you up, be sure to add dynamics to your worship set. To see a perfect example of dynamics, check out Howie Day singing at a coffee shop. He’s a master. (Also his looping is really cool.)
5. Focus on Melody-Driven Songs
Some of my favorite songs just don’t cut it in times where I’m leading worship alone. If the song relies on guitar riffs or instrumental elements, those tend not to work best in these solo situations. Instead, choose songs that are primarily about singing. This will increase engagement.
There’s my list of tips to help you when you are leading worship with no accompanying band. I’d love to hear your thoughts. What tips do you have for solo worship leading success?