Maybe nobody told you.
I guess it's to be expected. I mean, there aren't that many worship leader "secrets" we can keep to ourselves. Maybe somewhere way back when, worship leaders decided to keep this sort of info on the down-low. But I'll tell you. Because I love you.
Part-time worship leaders are just better at it.
When I say "part-time", I'm not thinking money. For the purpose of this post, just know that I'm using "part-time" to include anybody who leads in addition to their normal job. If you lead worship in your "off time" (whether you get paid or not) this post is for you.
I honestly believe that guys and gals who spend a significant amount time leading part-time develop into smarter, more productive, better worship leaders. Here's why...
SPONTANEITY: Part-time worship leaders don't have time for multiple rehearsals a week. They don't have time for mid-week meetings to plan out special service elements. And let's be honest...half the time, part-time folks barely know the plan for Sunday when they show up. Even if it isn't intentional, part-timers just get more adept at arranging songs on the fly, reacting to the crowd and being willing to take a chance a follow the Spirit's lead in the middle of the service. As their confidence grows, so does their wisdom; this adds up to worship leaders who know how to take risks that will work.
SCHEDULE: Part-timers get more done. When you don't have five extra hours a week to plan a month of sets, you get creative! Part-time worship leaders find ways to rehearse and plan and pray and meet and troubleshoot the sound system and still keep their job! Part-time worship leading is overwhelming, but it builds discernment. Part-timers get savvy to what they can freestyle and what needs leg work. Their rehearsals begin running more efficiently, which allows them more time to hang with their team and connect with congregants.
THE SWITCH: I don't have a good name for this thing. It's weird and vague and I don't know if anybody has even tried to label it. I'll try to explain. As part-time worship leaders get better and better, something eventually happens. It's like a switch is thrown. All the confidence and skill and time management combines and something clicks in the worship leader. And when it happens, the worship leader goes next-level. When the switch happens, part-timer starts leading like a full-timer. This has nothing to do with the mechanics of leading worship and everything to do with INVESTMENT. One a part-timer "switches", he or she find themselves becoming a better sermon series planner or life group leader. They somehow start finding time to build new song arrangements or head up a video project. Essentially, they create like a full-timer regardless of how much they get paid.
If you're a part-timer out there, let me first say THANK YOU. What you do is hard..every single week. But don't give up. Don't pull back and don't be afraid. Because all that hard work is making you really good at your job. And that's what matters. I don't care if it's small pay or no pay or a big phat paycheck every week..we need good worship leaders. AND YOU'RE BECOMING ONE.