As a worship leader, there are some Sundays when the congregation feels a little flat. As if they all drank a large bottle of Nyquil just before arriving. You don’t know what to do and a sense of panic begins to set in.
If you can’t give people a deeply emotional, tearful, joyful, even gnashing of teeth (depending on the song) experience, you feel like a failure. Does Chris Tomlin ever have this problem? Doubtful. Does David “Yes, this is my real beard” Crowder ever struggle in such a fashion? Highly unlikely.
But what can you do? Never fear. In my constant quest to serve you, I’ve compiled a list of 8 ways to get people FIRED UP (the caps indicate excitement) during worship.
#1 – Tell People You Can’t Hear Them
This is a classic strategy used by worship leaders for centuries. The first step is to ask everyone to get really loud. When they cheer, hold your hand to your ear and say, “I can’t heeeeaaarrr you!” This subtle signal tricks the audience into feeling intense passion so that suddenly they want to scream loudly.
Hulk Hogan mastered this technique.
For increased effect, run back and forth on the stage, switching ears and holding your mic out to the audience.
#2 – Stop Mid-Song and Shame People For Yelling Loudly At Football Games But Not Church
It’s a scientific fact that shame is a great way to motivate people. You can be sure that people got excited about the game they watched on Saturday, which is prime kindling for Sunday shame. I recommend the following dialogue:
You guys have no problem getting all loud for a GAME. Shouldn’t you be TWICE as loud here? You think God is okay with that? You get all fired up and say, “Go team!” but when it’s time to say, “Go God,” you’re all quiet. For shame!
This kind of healthy dialogue almost always leads to repentance and change.
#3 – Keep Speeding Up The Song Tempo
An audience may not want to sing loudly but they can always be made to sing faster. Simply speeding up the song tempo can dramatically change the feel of an audience.
For example, if you start singing “10,000 Reasons” at 80 BPM and over the next four minutes speed up to 200 BPM, people will be sweaty and out of breath by the time it’s over.
Remember this: sweaty and out of breath is ALWAYS good.
Plus, changing tempos will keep people off balance, which they’ll like. Trust me on this one.
#4 – Randomly Mix In Verses From Secular Songs
Another way to keep people guessing and/or fired up is to randomly throw in lyrics from secular songs. You’ll be amazed at how fired up people are when you include Drake lyrics in “Oceans” or a Beyonce chorus during “Good, Good Father”.
At first, people will be like, “Wait, am I at a Drake concert?” Then they’ll be like, “No, but my worship leader sure is awesome! I am SERIOUSLY fired up!”
#5 – Set Things On Fire
You want to get people fired up? SET. THINGS. ON. FIRE.
How did Elijah get the people of Israel fired up? He called down fire from heaven. How did Jimi Hendrix get the crowd fired up? He set his guitar on fire.
Don’t hesitate to set your drumset, choir robes, or interns on fire (just be sure the interns are wearing fireproof clothes).
#6 – Fire Members Of Your Worship Team
This is certainly controversial, but it worked for Donald Trump. If you fire members of your worship team during the worship service, the audience will realize that you’re serious about things and then get fired up.
When firing the person, I recommend screaming, “I’m tired of your passionless play! Get out of here and don’t come back until you take a long, hard look at yourself!”
Then go right into the next song.
#7 – Tell People That They Haven’t Sung Their Way Into God’s Presence
This method certainly has some theological issues, but don’t let that stop you. Halfway into the service, inform people that, unfortunately, they haven’t been able to get into God’s presence due to their lackluster worship.
If anyone (such as your pastor) begins to object to this statement, simply go right into the next song at full volume. Don’t stop playing until you’re sure that all objections have passed. I once played for 9 straight hours to be on the safe side.
#8 – Make Prolonged, Angry Eye Contact With People
One of the most effective ways to get people fired up is to make them extremely uncomfortable. Angrily staring at someone for multiple minutes during a song achieves this to perfection.
This works especially well if you’re simultaneously singing a song like “Happy Day”. The juxtaposition of eyes of fury and the words of cheer shake people to the core.
Now Prepare For Revival
Once you implement these steps, prepare for showers of blessings to fall upon your congregation. Revival will sweep through like a glorious wind. Where there was once apathy there will now be intensity.