Role of a Worship Leader - Part 3

Last time, I was starting to speak about worship leaders being in battle. I want to expand on that.

Have you ever seen a military band? The U.S. Army Band playing Stars and Stripes Forever is pretty awesome and powerful. Did you ever ask yourself why the Army has bands? Is it to entertain the troops and the brass?

Nowadays, yes it is. But military bands are steeped in tradition, and that tradition definitely involves hearing shots fired in anger. In historical time, armies always marched with musicians, and fought alongside musicians. In fact, the musicians were usually at the front of the advancing army. They served several purposes. The first was to uplift the troops. Imagine walking for weeks on end to cross Europe, knowing that you might very well die when you got to your destination. If you were fortunate and survived, you'd have to walk back! So the musicians would help keep a lively step, and would entertain at night while the troops rested.

They also helped provide order and discipline. When the army marched, the drum corps and pipes would provide timing for the soldiers. This would keep them all advancing at the same speed. No one would get too far ahead, and no one would be left behind.

Musicans were also very important during the actual battles. Imagine thousands of men fighting hand to hand with swords and shields, or muskets and horses. The noise must have been terrible! Generals would use the musicians to signal to the troops, to advance, retreat, go left, right, whatever. Archers, infantry, horsemen... they all had their own songs. Music was used to translate the commander's orders into action. It is said that even experienced horses could recognize bugle calls.

Worship music is an extension of this concept. Worship leaders use music to assemble the troops, so to speak. Come, Now is the Time to Worship can be viewed as the worship equivalent of the traditional Boots and Saddles bugle call. Worship is a call to action, a signal to all those that oppose God that the Army of the Lord is on the march.

While musicians on the field of earthly battle is a thing of the past, worship leaders are still very much on the front lines. Consider that next time you pick up an instrument, grab a microphone, or raise your hands in worship.

After all...

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Ephesians 6: 12-13

God Bless


  1. I'd never really thought of the task of leading worship in this way. I like your metaphor here; it really does hold up in my mind and impresses me with the necessity and urgency of calling congregants to the action of worship.

  2. Being a member of a worship team, AND being married to an Army Bandmaster, I can totally agree with your analogy and comparisons between military bands (call to arms) and worship teams (call to worship). Found your blog thru an "army band" Google Alert, but I think I'll be visiting regularly!


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