It is easy to get in front of the church, go through the entire worship set, and never take time to connect with them on a deeper level. There are two problems with this:
- The congregation becomes spectators of the worship band instead of joining in.
- Newcomers feel disconnected and awkward about what is going on.
I know, I know…we are musicians, not top-class communicators. It pushes us out of our comfort zone when we have to let out words without a melody.
Although I can’t promise this will be comfortable at first, I have found 4 ways you can easily connect with the congregation. Taking time to develop the skill of connecting with others is key to taking worship to the next level.
1. Welcome everyone and express gratitude.
This may seem overly simple and obvious, but one of the best ways to connect with the congregation is to greet them. There are three good places for this within your worship set: before it starts, during the intro of the first song, or between the first and second song. Then, you simply want to say something like,
“Welcome church! We are so glad you decided to spend part of your weekend with us. I invite you to add in your beautiful voice as we sing a few songs together.”
Keep the greeting light and fun – don’t formalize it! Most importantly, be yourself. Think through how you would greet someone coming to your home for the first time and develop something similar.
2. Invite the congregation to sing with you.
When we are singing a song that has an epic bridge, like When You Walk Into the Room, I have found it very effective to simply say, “Come on church, let’s sing this together.” This little phrase will increase participation by 100%!
As worship leaders, we tend to assume that everyone knows to sing along, but sometimes, they just need a little encouragement.
3. Share a short, funny story.
You may not think that worship is a time for story telling, but you would be surprised at how much this can help the congregation connect. It is really no different than how effective a story is within the pastor’s sermon.
Stories connect people. So don’t be afraid to get a little personal and share a story between the first and second song.
Maybe even share something funny that happened between band members during rehearsal. This takes the ‘stardom’ away and lets the congregation see that the worship band is full of real people.
4. Connect with others on the stage.
It is easy to stare straight ahead (maybe even at the back wall) throughout the entire worship set. Maybe you think it is vain to watch the guitar player during an instrumental or turn your head and smile at the keyboardist after their little riff.
Well, these types of connections are not vain. As a matter of fact, they enhance worship in two ways.
First, it promotes relationships between worship team members. Second, it is uplifting for the congregation to see that those on the worship team are actually friends.
How do you connect with the congregation?
I am sure there are many other ways to connect with the congregation and I would love to hear about them! Share your ideas in the comments below.