There has been much confusion on this subject, for you will not find one verse in the New Testament that supports the idea of a man (or woman) “leading the worship of a congregation.” I know this runs contrary to popular belief, for many believe it’s up to the “pastor” (or youth leader with a group of young people) to lead the worship. Let’s see what the New Testament teaches the spiritual leaders to do.

“And from Miletus he (the apostle Paul) sent to Ephesus, and called for the elders of the church. And when they were come to him, he said unto them…Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to SHEPHERD THE CHURCH OF GOD which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:17-18, 28…NKJV).

“The elders who are among you I (the apostle Peter) exhort…SHEPHERD THE FLOCK OF GOD which is among you, SERVING AS OVERSEERS, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain, but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but BEING EXAMPLES TO THE FLOCK” (1st Peter 5:1-3).

“Remember YOUR LEADERS WHO HAVE SPOKEN TO YOU THE WORD OF GOD; and considering the issue of their conversation, imitate their faith…OBEY YOUR LEADERS, and be submissive; for THEY WATCH OVER YOUR SOULS AS THOSE THAT SHALL GIVE ACCOUNT” (Hebrews 13:7, 17…DARBY version).

“The word is faithful: if anyone aspires to EXERCISE OVERSIGHT, he desires a good work” (1st Timothy 3:1…DARBY).

These passages all teach us the main work of “spiritual leaders.” They are SHEPHERDS of God’s flock (believers) who watch over them and care for them as they “minister God’s Word to them.” We see also that they are “examples to the flock” and thus as we see their godly behavior we are to “imitate their faith.” As you can see, there is not one word related to worship, for they are NOT “worship leaders.”

This begs the question, “Is there a worship leader in the local churches?” Yes, there is; in fact, there are TWO WORSHIP LEADERS. The first one is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. We see this in Hebrews 2:11-12, “For both He who sanctified and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying: ‘I will declare Your name to My brethren; IN THE MIDST OF THE ASSEMBLY, I WILL SING PRAISE TO YOU” (NKJV). We are promised in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” When believers are gathered to the Lord Jesus Christ (NOT to a “pastor” or “youth leader”), He is in our very midst and as we saw in Hebrews 2, He is there to “sing praise to God.” In other words, He leads us in our praise to God the Father! The second “worship leader” is the Holy Spirt. We see this in Philippians 3:3, “For we are the circumcision, who WORSHIP BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD” (DARBY). We know from other scriptures that the Holy Spirit indwells each believer (see John 14:17 with Romans 8:9; 1st Corinthians 6:19 and 1st John 3:24). He has various purposes for indwelling us and one of them to is to “draw our hearts out in worship to God.” In doing this He is the POWER for worship!  In closing, let us take to heart what we have seen today in the scriptures quoted and cited. Let us NOT allow “any man” to seek to lead us in worship; let us rather allow our blessed Lord and Savior and the indwelling Holy Spirit to be our WORSHIP LEADERS. This will involve FAITH in looking to the Lord instead of having a pre-arranged “worship service” where we follow the lead of a man who in turn follows an outline for the service (with certain hymns to be sung and scriptures to be read) that he prepared before the saints came together.  (483.1)  (DO)