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- in a general sense, and then more specifically work that generates income.

So it’s not just that you’re taking a break from work- it’s also a statement of faith that you’re trusting God as your provider (because you’re letting go of hours you potentially could be earning money).

Number two, rest is taking some of that down time to sit at the feet of 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 will give 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 can be good- spending time with family, taking a nap, reading a book, catching a football game, etc.

But those things will mostly provide rest and recharge on a surface level.  If you want rest on a deep level you need to connect with Jesus in a meaningful way.

Here are a handful of ideas you can use to help you rest on a deeper level…

Sitting before 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 praying a Psalm is another great way to rest.  You’re outside, which can be naturally restful on multiple levels (sun, air, exercise), and you’re also meditating on a passage of Scripture (feeding your heart with His Word), and you’re communing with Him as you pray the passage back to His heart.

Listening to the Bible: if you can find an audio recording of the Bible that you like, just listening to the Word and having it spoken over you can be super restful.  


Finding And Guarding The Time To Rest

Finding and guarding the time to rest is not easy.  And I want to humbly say that I am not the best at this myself, though I do want to improve. 

Life is moving faster than ever and we’re “busier” than ever, thanks to technology (phones, social media, etc) - and more than ever it can be a fight to both 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.  And then if you have children at home, the kids probably have a weekday schedule to follow...making it truly hard to find even one day in the week that can be a true day off.

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

1) Try to find a full 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: I know 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 still try your best to get away from your phone or other technology for even 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- even good things- in order to preserve that time.



Ouch!  Writing this week’s issue has brought multiple things to mind for me personally, where I want to grow and improve in the area of rest.  

So if anything 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 2 ways I can help you...

1.  Join other subscribers who receive one actionable tip for leading connection-based worship each Wednesday morning through The Worship Leading Letter.

2.  Worship Leader Coaching: Work 1:1 with me.  Tackle the unique challenges you're facing in your worship ministry, and grow in leading deeper worship out of your connection with Jesus. 

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.