“Power and Authority – Leading in Worship”

—Glenn. W. Harrell

“Leading worship” is a phrase that has come to mean,

“Get in there and do your thing or else, we’re all sunk.”

“Music is necessary if we are to worship God.”

“Acts of worship are to be done before men” (prayer, alms)

“Find some talented individual who can wow-and dazzle the crowd.”

“Put together a presentation that appeals to the carnal, not spiritual, man.”

“Be loud, boisterous and entertaining or they won’t come back.”

“Create a lifeless, rote liturgy and perform it faithfully.”

Leading IN worship is something much different than Leading Worship. The latter requires an attitude that I am significant and that others won’t worship unless I “do something”.

Leading IN worship is being with others in the context of a group whose intent is to worship God. It is not what it has become as of late—a manipulation of emotions and feelings, showtime, complete with goosebumps, artificially substituted for submission and loyalty to the holiness and Lordship of Christ.

This is where authority and power come into view. Worship is not what I pay someone to do AT, TO, or FOR me. To lead others in worship is to afford them scripture and doctrinal truths, windows for illumination and confession, points of meditation on God’s Word, understandings of discipleship and devotion, psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. In biblical worship, feelings and emotions must always answer to the stability of doctrinal purity. When emotions and feelings are preferred to inform our doctrine and theology, we have what we see today–a playground for players and showmanship. We see it in all of Evangelicalism.


True worship will be led by no man. Worship is its own authority and power.

No one can “Lead Worship” any more than they will lead prayer or the bible.

Leaders are given authority to teach, preach and instruct one another, but never asked or allowed to instruct the bible, the Spirit or God himself. (Ephesians 4:11-16) This is much like how we cannot command the scriptures but we can and must present the commands found therein.

Worship is not to be led by anyone, anywhere. It is to be a point of humble submission. I can lead music, musicians, people and pets, but never true worship or a service of worship.

Christian worship contains authority and power of this variety:

Greater is He that is in you” … I John 4:4   

“Apart from me, you can do nothing.” John 15:5

 Jesus never moved without authority and He never felt obligated to reveal the source of his authority. We all know that the temple priests operated on a false authority and the results were evident. This is what they asked Jesus,

“By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Matthew 21:23 

That is a great question for me to ask myself BEFORE I pretend to lead others in spiritual worship!

 The best test for me to know by what and whose authority I do anything of consequence is to see the fruits, measure them against the scriptures and call them for what they are.

“For we are the true circumcision, who

1- worship in the Spirit of God  

2- and glory in Christ Jesus   

3-and put no confidence in the flesh.” PHILIPPIANS 3:3



If there is a stage–then there is an audience and a show.

If there is acting, then there is a performer, ego and a play.

If there is to be worship, personal or corporate, I must escape the trappings of such benign, pretentious clamor. I must also empty myself in the manner of Christ and get out of the way—especially if I am in an assigned position of leadership. In such a context, if I am cognizant of authority and power, I probably am abusing it. At all times, my attitude will be showing.

“Have this attitude in you which was also in Christ Jesus…” Read: Philippians 2:4-10

Here this attitude is in living color!  Has God ever let you fall-fail in front of others to embarrassment? Thank Him!

“About this time the disciples came to Jesus and asked him who would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus called a child over and had the child stand near him. Then he said: I promise you this. If you don’t change and become like a child, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven. But if you are as humble as this child, you are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And when you welcome one of these children because of me, you welcome me.” Matthew 18:1-5


Authority assumes: Position, Office and Rank.

Power assumes: Knowledge, Influence and Control

Christ assumes: that I will yield each of these to him so that I do not presume to fill his role in my life or others I am called to lead.

We have neither power nor authority unless they are given to us. The results of our use or abuse of either will demonstrate the true source.

“So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel:

‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.”

Zachariah 4:6

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