TWLL #11: A Worship Leader's Need For Deep Rest

Jul 13, 2023

read time: 5 minutes




Worship leading is a sacred activity.  Connecting with Jesus in song, and inviting the room into that same space is exhilarating.

It’s also tiring.  The energy demands, at the emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical levels, are substantial.

Over the years, I’ve led about 10,000 hours of live worship, and I have many memories of walking off stage and then falling into a heap in one of the backroom chairs.

On many of those days I felt like at nearly every level- mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually- I was drained.

Whatever I had in my schedule after the set- whether that was time with Jesus, worship team admin tasks, jumping back in with the family- it would usually take me at least 15-30 minutes before I felt like I was semi-functional again.

All this to say, as worship leaders we have a true need for rest.


Giving Definition To Rest

I think of rest as a combination of two things.  Number one, it’s hitting pause on work.

Number two, rest is taking some of the down time to sit with Jesus.  And here’s why this is so important…

Taking a break from work can be restful in a practical sense, but it doesn’t automatically mean that you’re resting in your spirit.

The thing that gives you rest in your spirit (and mind, emotions, and body) is communion with Jesus- because communion with Jesus is what we were made for.


What It Practically Looks Like To Rest

All of the normal things we think of when we think of rest are good and needed- spending time with family, taking a nap, hanging with friends, catching a football game, etc.

From there, moving into rest for your spirit has to do with connecting with Jesus.

Here are a handful of ideas to help you connect with Him and give your spirit rest.

Sitting with Jesus in stillness and silence is a profound way to rest.  I talk about this in detail in an earlier issue of the Worship Leading Letter. 

When you practice silence and solitude you’re essentially dialing down inside, in order to become present to Jesus.

Going for a walk and talking with Him is another great way to rest.  You’re outside, which can be naturally restful on multiple levels (sun, air, exercise), and you’re also expressing your thoughts to Him and listening for His heart.

Lay down and listen: crash on the couch with some chill worship music or a version of the audio Bible.  Having the Scripture sung or spoken  over you can be incredibly restful.


Finding And Guarding The Time To Rest

Finding and guarding the time to rest isn’t always easy.  

Life is moving faster than ever and we’re “busier” than ever, with technology (phones, social media, etc) - and more than ever it can be a fight to find the time, unplug, and slow down enough to engage in meaningful rest.

Throw in the schedule of a worship leader, and you’ve added a few more challenges into the mix- because the weekends (most people’s days off) are a worship leader’s busiest time of the week.

With that said, here are a few thoughts to help you find and guard the time to rest...

1) Try to find a day or even half a day off, even if it looks a bit unconventional: maybe Friday noon to Saturday noon, you’re completely off.  Which still gives you Saturday afternoon if you need to do final prep for Saturday night/Sunday morning for church.

2) Aim to unplug: It feels almost impossible, and in certain seasons you have to have your phone on, so your spouse or kids can reach you if need be...but what about going off the grid with your phone in airplane mode for a few hours?

3) Throw together a loose list of things you can do during the down time/rest time: I know it sounds ironic to put even a loose schedule together- but sometimes having something written down will actually help us do what we want to do.

4) Say no: As best you can, guard that time in the week.  Say no to other things in order to preserve that time.



Please know that I write this issue NOT as the expert, but as someone who needs to hear these things just as much as anyone else.  

May the Lord help us, as we aim to be more intentional about deep rest with Jesus.





Whenever you’re ready, there are three ways I can help you…

1- Join A Zoom Group.  Every 3 months I host small zoom groups- one focused on worship leading and one on songwriting.  Each group meets once a week for an hour on Zoom over a 12-week period, as we walk through the process of leading worship or songwriting out of connection with Jesus.  For more details on schedule and cost email me at [email protected]

2- Join other subscribers who receive the worship leading letter every Wednesday morning.

3- Promote your service or business to 6500+ subscribers by sponsoring this newsletter.


Connection based worship leading.

Every Wednesday morning you’ll get 1 actionable tip to help you lead deeper worship out of your connection with Jesus.

I will never sell your information, for any reason.