I can relate to this writer. I’ve been involved with leading worship for over 20 years but largely as a director and musical coach. In that role it’s been necessary to have a chart in front of me so I can give proper direction to the team. But lately I’ve been challenged to start memorizing so I can lead with more freedom –  I easily connected with this article.  B


by Dan Cogan on February 14, 2011

I knew it would come. Eventually. Sure, I may have been in denial. But deep down I knew this day would come. The day when I would have to make an enormous sacrifice in order to keep moving forward as a worship leader.

The day isn’t quite here yet, but it will be in just a bit over a week. This coming Sunday I will walk on stage, plug in my guitar, and sing…without a music stand in front of me.

I’ve been leading worship for almost thirteen years now, and have done maybe two sets without a music stand. I’m not sure how Sunday, February 20 will go, but I am committed to leading all the songs without the aid of lyrics and chord charts.

Terrified? You better believe it. But, do I know it’s the logical next step? Absolutely.

Why do I feel so strongly about this decision? In the couple of services I’ve led without charts I have felt such a freedom to connect with the congregation. You know, make eye contact! I want to communicate in every way possible that we’re worshiping our King TOGETHER! It’s not about the band, it’s not about the worship leader. It’s about a community linking arms and adoring God together. It’s about accidentally singing the second half of the first verse at the end of the third verse…together. It’s about coming into His gates with thanksgiving in our hearts…together.

Will I mess up the lyrics? Probably. Will I play the wrong chords here and there? I’m pretty sure I will. But at the very least I’ll be able to look someone in the eyes and say, “Isn’t God amazing?” without having to worry about looking back and trying to find my place on a tiny 10 point font chord chart.

I’ve said I was going to do this before. At rehearsals I tell the band, “Okay, crew. In about two months we’re gonna try this without chord charts!” Then I don’t mention it again, and hope they’ve all forgotten.

But this time it’s different.

Mostly this first post is for the sake of accountability. When I come back to fill you in on how it went, I am planning on sharing all the gruesome details. But more importantly, after a few weeks of it, I will share some of the methods I’ve found useful.

Now, do I think it’s absolutely necessary for EVERY worship leader to do this? Nope. Do I think it’s beneficial? Yep.

So, if you don’t hear from me again by the end of the month, call the police…something bad may have happened.

See you soon…I hope.

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