This is a question that many have asked, many should be asking, and one that we should continually be asking.
Before you can really get to the answer, realize that our job as worship leaders is to lead others in worship. This is often a great sacrifice we make when taking on this role because it’s no longer about our experience with God, but creating an environment for others to worship. We are now responsible for leading others into the presence of God, not just ourselves.
This means we cannot be selfish. If it were up to me, we would all be sitting in a dark room filled with candles, incense, and heartfelt music from a djembe and acoustic guitar. Communion would be taken with red wine and Hawaiian bread, and we would all have journals to write prayers and draw pictures in response to our worship. I cannot expect too many others to appreciate this. And for that reason, we have to constantly be listening and watching the people we lead.
Here’s the answer to our question:
Each context is different. There is no magic number. What works for one congregation will not work with another. What works on Wednesday may not work on Sunday. You have to be discerning.
When people stop worshiping you are performing.
Performing is not a bad thing. In fact, I have had some worshipful experiences while watching others perform. But our job as a worship leader is to bring others into the presence of God, not into the presence of our musical awesomeness.
What works for your congregation? What doesn’t work for your congregation? Comment and let me know.