Baby Steps – making changes to worship (guest post by Dan Macaulay)

Baby Steps – making changes to worship (guest post by Dan Macaulay)


In order to effectively lead the people we seek to lead in worship – whether at home or ministering elsewhere we have to adequately know a couple things: 1. Where are we now? 2. Where are we headed? 3. How far in that direction can we get today?

If I set out to lead my 10 month old son on stroll across the park to the swing-set I would need to pace the way I led him or we would never make the journey with me. He can already walk a bit but still needs some hand-holding for balance. If I took off across the grass at the pace I could personally make it to the swings he would get left in the dust. He’d either lose his balance and land on his derrière or he’d get distracted along the way and start wandering towards the sandbox. So out of my love for him and my desire for him to get to those swings -and all the promise of good things they hold- I will consider his needs and lead him at a pace he can handle.

It is one thing to get to the top of a mountain, but it is another thing altogether to lead a group to the top of a mountain. It’s a much slower process as care and concern is given to the needs of those you’re leading. Have you ever been in a worship service where the worship leader is having a grande-old-time up on cloud number nine but no one is with them? Everyone is just watching, waiting for them to be finished. It’s a tricky thing to balance leading by example with getting too far out in front that your followers lose heart or become frustrated or lost. Instead you need to assess where the group is at right now, and take them one or two steps in the direction of your final destination.

If you’re new leading worship in a given situation for any reason you already have that working against you. Try as best you can to not throw another natural obstacle into the mix by doing too many unfamiliar songs. Why try and ‘fight’ on multiple fronts at the same time? Do what’s familiar and win them over to you first. Then maybe they’ll be willing to follow you into the unfamiliar territory of a new song.

If you’re making changes in your worship repertoire, style or form, do in in bite-size pieces or “baby steps”. I believe it was Lincoln Brewster’s Pastor, Glen Berteau, that told him once “I think you could paint the sanctuary bright pink if you did it one square foot per week.”

It takes time to lead people well and if you’re passing through you might not get to see the fruit. But that’s okay. “The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work.” 1 Corinthians 3:8. Trust God to turn the purposeful baby steps you lead people towards Him with into a fruitful journey over the long haul.

Canadian born, and winner of Canada’s 2007 Shai awards for “Worship Album of the Year” and “Male Soloist of the Year”, Dan Macaulay is now making waves across the world stage with a new project, “The Listening EP” produced by Nathan Nockels. (Chris Tomlin, Passion, Matt Redman, Tim Hughes) Hanging out somewhere between the sounds of Michael W Smith and Jason Upton; Dan balances an engaging, infectious style with the leading of a pastor’s heart; effectively straddling accessible pop and passionate abandon.

Having shared the stage in the last 4 years with the likes of Avalon, Kevin Max, Paul Coleman, Darrell Evans and Brian Doerksen, Dan is no stranger to the road. But with a heart for the local church, and as a worship pastor at his home church in Greenwich CT, USA, Dan endeavors to keep his ministry grounded and relevant; focused on serving pastors and worshippers. This is also the heart behind Dan’s weekly blog “Worship at Home & on the Road”

FREE MP3 Download of Dan’s latest radio single, “Listening”.