Leading Songs & Liturgy With Clarity, Diction, Conviction

by Kristen Gilles

in Worship Leading

Kristen Gilles, reading a testimony of salvation at a Sojourn Church baptism service

Here, I'm reading a testimony of salvation at a Sojourn baptism service

My mom, Mindy, is an enunciator. Ever since I can remember, she has enunciated her words with excellent elocution, whether speaking or singing. She does not mumble. She does not slur. As a teacher, worship leader and mother who raised four rambunctious kids, my mom understands the importance of clearly conveying not just words, but also meaning and tone in both her speech and songs.

Thinking of my excellently enunciating mother helps me every Sunday morning as I’m preparing to lead liturgical readings, prayers and songs during our Sojourn Church worship services. She taught me to speak with conviction, clarity and diction, especially when leading others in the recitation of important truths and expressions of worship and prayer. She also taught me to sing in this eloquent way as she led me by her own example.

Worship leaders, communicate the gospel to your congregants through your songs and speech clearly, and with conviction, whether with extemporaneous exhortations, or with written liturgy and prayers. Ask anyone in your congregation if they can understand you when you’re leading liturgy. You might be surprised at their reply. Although we often think we’re speaking clearly and not too quickly, we may be slurring our speech, rushing our reading, or speaking in a near monotone.

Before you serve your congregations each week:
Recite the liturgy aloud to yourself and practice clearly enunciating the words you’re singing. Also, take time to reflect on the truths you’ll be reading and singing aloud before your congregation. Think on these things and come prepared to read and sing them with vocal inflections and tones that appropriately convey the meaning of what’s being declared, confessed or requested in prayer and song.

Then On Sunday: slow down.

If possible, start at an exaggeratedly slow pace while trying to listen for the congregation’s cadence. Then proceed at their pace. It’s also helps when you’re not leading the liturgical readings to pay attention to the pace of the congregation and make mental notes as you follow along.

Reading and professing the gospel aloud together is a very powerful tool for encouraging all of us in learning and knowing the Truth. Remember that our purpose as worship leaders is to serve our congregations well. And if we’re reading liturgy at a pace the congregation can’t follow (too fast OR too slow), they will drop out and not read aloud with us.  So, like my beautiful mother Mindy:

With clarity and diction,
enunciate with conviction

Photo by David Alan Kidd

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