The Effective Praise and Worship Leader

Posted on Posted in God, Music

Dr. Ron Kenoly is a confident, fun man. In less than 5 minutes he had the entire room uncomfortable. He directly asked people questions, and when they answered incorrectly, he would simply say, “No. Who has the right answer?” When frustrated by the third incorrect definition of the word “praise,” he said, “Come on people, you are supposed to be worship leaders. You should know this stuff.” He was very firm, and very intimidating. I enjoyed watching him make people squirm. And while his talk was right out of his book (that I have not read), I found it very insightful, and from my limited experience, spot on.

Breakout Session:
The Effective Praise and Worship Leader with Dr. Ron Kenoly

I have authority and I use it. I’m not being mean.

Praise – declaring the acts/works/deeds/promises/attributes of God

Worship – ascribing the value of God

Ps. 150 – let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

God is at one with His word. He is whomever He says He is.

Ps. 22:3

When you declare Him as healer, He must heal you.

Rom. 10:9-10 confess and believe. Declare Jesus as Savior.

Worship is intimacy with God.

John 4. Worship in spirit and truth. God is looking for worshippers.

The purpose for praise and worship is to create an environment for God
to manifest His presence.

“usher in the presence” – not the presence, but the manifestation.

“Let me introduce Chip and he is going to tell us who he is.” Then
Dr. Kenoly hands the mic to Chip. Chip has been here all along, but now
we hear from him.

God does not impose Himself. He has to be invited.

God expects to be honored. To be given gifts.

We facilitate the activities of the Lord, not ushering His presence.

What are pastors looking for? (sometimes can’t get all in one


  • communicate the language of music with group/team
  • able to assign vocal/musical parts to team
  • establish a level of quality in the music


  • plan and coordinate schedules
  • execute the vision of the pastoral leadership
  • attend to the details that accompany leadership roles
    • keeping records
    • acquiring necessary tools and materials
    • assign and delegate responsibilities
    • execute disciplinary actions (all of Christianity is about authority
      and submission)
    • manage finances
    • represent department in staff meetings


  • minor counseling
  • leading prayer
  • visitations
  • correspondance
  • Bible teaching
  • Demonstrate spiritual leadership


  • able to sing on pitch
  • establish the melodies of songs
  • charismatic – encourage people to sing
  • make a first impression (often first on Sunday)

Keys to being an effective praise and worship leader:

    1. be a good Christian in good standing
    2. be able to teach and train others
    3. have common sense and wisdom
    4. have fundamental knowledge of music
    5. demonstrate leadership skills
    6. have good manners and social graces
    7. be committed to your pastor’s vision
    1. Have a good knowledge of the Bible
    2. Know what your denomination/movement believes
    3. Know that the pastor is ultimately the worship leader. (what pastors
      do in moderation, the congregation will do excessively)
    1. Have a living testimony
    2. Minister with conviction and boldness
    3. Sing with passion and spirit
    1. Have a disciplined prayer life
    2. Pray about song selection
    3. Position yourself to receive anointing
    4. Be willing to lead others in prayer
    5. Encourage others in the Lord and Word of God
    1. Be bold in worship leading
    2. Be punctual
    3. Establish and maintain order
    4. Know your limitations
    5. Use your authority wisely
    6. Demonstrate love and respect
    7. Make eye contact with people
    8. Be sensitive to your congregation
    9. Avoid tongue lashing (“come on, if you really love God, you can
      do better than that…”)
    10. Lead those who will follow
    11. Teach people whenever possible
  6. SKILL
    1. Learn the language of music
    2. Take private lessons if necessary
    3. Memorize the music
    1. Be sensitive to God and the people
    2. Sing songs that are written in everyone’s range
    3. Provide arrangements that everyone can follow
    4. Choose the right genre for congregation
    5. Match the volume with mood of song
    6. Know when to release the congregation to pray/sing in the Spirit
    1. Give guidelines, rules or policies
    2. Honor the God of order
    3. Prepare an operations manual


Dr. Ron Kenoly
Dr. Ron Kenoly


7 thoughts on “The Effective Praise and Worship Leader

  1. I was previewing my own blog and this post was an “automatically generated possibly related” link (thank-you wordpress). I have not been on your blog before, but THANK YOU FOR THIS POST! I have been helping a small church in my area who is beginning a non-traditional worship service. This will be a great resource as I coach them on the roles you mentioned. YOU ROCK! Thanks for posting your notes!

  2. hi,

    i don’t know if you answer questions or not, but i liked your post. i always had a passion to become a praise and worship leader..and that passion has only grew in my journey with God but i dont feel that i have the qualities for a praise and worship leader or if its something that God truly wants..or something I desire for myself. Its silly to ask, but how do we differinate that? how do we know its what God truly wants?

  3. Thank you for this post!
    Many times, people leave worship leaders without guidance, because they are usually the ones giving it; but this is a helpful post for everyone.
    Your thoughts of leading worship is only tested by your own fears. Trust God that he’s put the thoughts of leading praise in your head for a reason. As long as your heart pours out through [on-pitch] music, you’ll be fine.
    Practice and put in your due-diligence and the Spirit will take care of the rest.

  4. Great notes! I am leading a youth group who in the grand scheme of things eventually want to record. I know God has called me to lead them, and sometimes it is hard to stay focused especially with alot of opposition in areas that shouldnt be. Learning and reading your notes and applying what is on this site will really help me! Thanks Dr Kenoly!

  5. I am a part of a small church and I have ben researching prasie and worship to become a more effective praise team leader. Your information is very helpful.

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