Worship leaders

Wondering if you’re called to be…a worship leader?

Read these words and look at the image below as you ponder the questions

Worship is encounter with the living God.

Leading worship is simply (but incredibly) about providing an opportunity for people to meet with God.  

“God is spirit, and those who worship him  must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24 (NRSV)

  • Think about a time when you experienced the presence of God vividly in worship. What was it that made that time special?
  • In what ways could you be involved in enabling people to have an opportunity to meet with God?


What do Worship Leaders do?

Worship is at the heart of all we do as God’s people.  Worship leaders are appointed trained and commissioned by their Church Council to take a leading and significant role in public worship in their church.  They work alongside the minister or local preacher appointed to lead an act of worship.  Their role may include choosing and leading music and prayers, reading Bible passages or other readings, facilitating dance or drama and any other aspect of worship other than the sermon. 

The role of Worship Leaders is an important ministry within the Methodist Church.  Increasing numbers of churches are realising the benefits that worship leaders bring.  They often know their local congregation well and can introduce new creative insights and gifts into worship which are grounded in their local community and shaped by local mission priorities.

Who can be a Worship Leader?

Worship leaders must be members of the Methodist Church, and are appointed to serve in this role within their local church.  The Church Council is responsible for accepting prospective worship leaders for training, providing them with opportunities to develop their skills and for appointing them to their role.  Worship leaders serve for a period of three years, following which their appointment can be renewed by their Church Council based on the recommendation of the local preachers’ meeting.

How are Worship Leaders trained?

Since September 2015 the authorised training course for worship leaders has been Worship: Leading & Preaching. Worship leaders study alongside local preachers on this course.  The training requirements for worship leaders were clarified by the Ministries Committee in March 2018.  An extract from the paper is available for download here

Responsibility lies with the Church Councils to determining the appropriate training for worship leaders in their church, with guidance and support from the Local Preachers’ Meeting.  Worship: Leading & Preaching modules 1-4 provides a tailor-made training programme for Worship Leaders, but the Church Council may decide that it is more appropriate in their context to use a smaller selection of material from Worship: Leading & Preaching.  We have produced some Guidelines for Church Councils in choosing the right level of training for their worship leaders. In all cases, Church Councils should take advice from their circuit Local Preachers' Meeting and local Tutor in making this choice.

All Worship Leaders are required to complete the Methodist Church’s mandatory training in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, so that they are aware of the Church’s strategy and their role within it.  Full details of the training can be found here: Mandatory EDI Training (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion).

For more information on the Worship: Leading & Preaching course, please click here.

How are worship leaders commissioned?

Worship leaders who are appointed by their Church Council should be commissioned at a service of worship in their local church or circuit.  A suitable service is included in the Methodist Worship book on page 350.

Those who have successfully submitted a Worship Leader Portfolio for Worship: Leading & Preaching are entitled to a certificate to mark their achievement, which should be presented at this service.  It is available as a download here.  Please note that printed copies of this certificate are not available from the Connexional Team.

What is the term of office for a worship leader?

Worship leaders serve for a period of three years.  They may be reappointed for a further three years following a review conducted by the local preachers’ meeting.

How is long service recognised?

We encourage churches to actively support and encourage their worship leaders in their calling.  We also encourage churches to celebrate long and faithful service in this role.  A long service certificate for Worship Leaders is available to download here.

Are you considering a call to be a worship leader?

If so, you may find this booklet helpful.  It includes testimonies, Bible passages and practical guidance to encourage reflection, prayer and talking things through with others.  

Printed copies of this booklet are available in packs of 20 from Methodist Publishing

What does our Constitutional Practice say about worship leaders?

An extract of our Standing Orders concerning worship leaders can be downloaded here.