1. The difference between preparing and not preparing is MASSIVE.
Apart from knowing the songs and learning the lyrics, setting aside time to prepare my heart before God is the most important thing — it allows the Holy Spirit to speak, puts a verse on my heart, and gives me ideas.
Setting aside time to prepare my heart before God is the most important thing…
2. Receive constructive feedback.
From those around you who have been doing this for longer than you. I want to lead people the best way I can each time, plus I don’t know everything so I need to remain humble and teachable.
3. Have a plan.
If you don’t play an instrument, grab the Music Director, or a musician and together, figure out the keys of the songs you’ve chosen, any potential creative moments you might have, specific transitions, etc. That way you have a plan in place that has been practiced, but you also have flexibility to change if you feel to do so.
4. Have an opinion.
Especially if you’re a co-worship leader. When the senior worship leader asks you what you think of a song, idea, or moment – have something to contribute! You could have a great idea that no one has thought of yet.
5. Run your song list by someone else.
I always get a second eye to look over my list, just to make sure it’s the strongest and most relevant it can be. This can mean you may need to tailor a song list to a specific service and then tweak it slightly for the next one.
6. Don’t strive when you lead, but don’t step back either.
Lead with the authority that has been given to you. Yes, there is a spiritual weight to the platform, which includes the responsibility we have to lead people to Jesus, but lead confidently knowing you’ve been given the platform and entrusted by your pastors.
7. You will have a train wreck and you will be okay.
A close friend and mentor told me this and a week later, I had a beauty! Don’t stress – it keeps you humble and you learn from it, plus they make for great stories!
8. Watch, listen and learn every chance you get.
We never graduate from learning.
We never graduate from learning.
9. Your primary service to the church is to lead them to the presence of God.
Don’t think for a second that worship leading is your moment to shine or preach, especially when you are taking ‘the gap’. If it adds to the service and allows you to arrest the atmosphere, then do it; but if it takes away from Jesus and what your primary purpose is, leave it out.
If it takes away from Jesus and what your primary purpose is, leave it out.
10. Be yourself.
You are unique and God speaks to each of us differently, so lead accordingly. God has put something on your life, so lead from that place.
Born and raised on the far north coast of New South Wales, Australia, Taya Smith is a key leader in the Hillsong creative team. She is a passionate worship leader who has captured the hearts of believers across the globe with her vocals in ‘Oceans’ and ‘A Million Suns’ on UNITED’s most recent album, Zion.
Taya’s passion for the house of God was first nurtured in Lismore as a part of the worship team and a youth leader. When secular singing work led to Taya moving to Sydney in 2010, she became a part of Hillsong Church’s City Campus as a volunteer in the youth and young adults ministries and the church creative team. Soon after, her love for both worship and youth came together perfectly as she became involved in the church’s youth worship expression Young & Free’s debut album and subsequent tours.
In February 2013, Taya became a part Hillsong’s creative staff with responsibilities that have range from development and oversight of the city vocal team, creative elements for young adult events, vocals in key Hillsong events as well as touring with Young & Free and UNITED.
Yet for Taya, ‘home is the prize’ and whenever she’s not travelling, she can be found pastoring individuals in the creative team, running prayer meetings, or leading worship in a weekend service. As she says, ‘I am most passionate about worship – true, honest worship. There is nothing like it. It’s never about you or how well you can sing – it’s always about Jesus and who He is. My hope is to lead people to worship more passionately and go deeper in their relationship with Jesus than they have before. The fact that I get to point people to Him through songs and platforms I’ve been given will always be the biggest honour and privilege. I’ve always been, and hopefully always will be, sold out to worship.’