How important is the overall lifestyle of those involved in the ministry of praise and worship?
This question has been the topic of numerous teachings, articles and even books over the years. There is no way I could fully answer in just a few words, but let me at least offer a some thoughts.
First, leading praise and worship requires that there be an ongoing relationship with the Lord. The role of the worship leader is not primarily musical. It is, first and foremost, spiritual. You will not be able to effectively lead worship over the long-term if you do not have personal worship relationship with God. This means consistent Bible study and prayer. It also means seeking the Lord and His guidance for your life, business, family and ministry decisions.
You can not take people where you have not been. If you are not regularly involved in worshiping God in your personal devotion time then you will ultimately not be able to lead others in worship. Your relationship with the Lord is the thing that will make leading worship possible. Without that as part of your life, no amount of talent, practice, mental and physical preparation will help.
Those involved in the ministry of praise and worship should have lives that reflect worship in all they do and say. Their attitude should be “…whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Secondly, how you act in public, outside of church, is very important. Anyone who is regularly standing before the congregation in any ministry capacity is seen as a leader by those in the congregation. I was the bass player in our church when I first recognized this fact. People saw me in front of the church week after week and therefore identified me as a leader in the church. My attitude was, “Wrong! I’m just the bass player.” But it didn’t matter what I said to them. In their minds the fact that I was seen in ministry on a regular basis identified me as a leader.
The same is true in nearly every church. Anyone who is up front ministering regularly is seen as a leader. Because of this their actions outside of church can be crucial. People see them at a park playing with their children and think, “That’s what a worshiping Christian is like.” Or they encounter them at the local discount store, yelling at the manager because of some ongoing problem, and think, “Oh, that’s what a worshiping Christian is like.”
Obviously, it is unrealistic to expect perfection from people. However, for anyone in any leadership capacity, the standards are higher. Qualifications for overseers and deacons are listed in 1 Timothy 3. It is safe to assume that not everyone involved in the ministry of praise and worship will be an overseer or a deacon, but they are still in some sort of leadership role. Because of this, a higher standard of lifestyle is required.
In all of this, a life of pure and sincere devotion to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3) is essential. More than fantastic musical abilities or a great memory for song lyrics, a life that reflects a sincere worship of God is vital.