Can/Should a Woman Lead Worship?

Found this article here. (link fixed)

I never really had a doubt. And this guy presents quite the argument and Biblical background. I’m not really into getting all Old Testament, especially since I tend to be one of those “Christ came to fulfill the law” kind of guys, and now we live under grace, in a personal relationship with God, where we are looked on as sons and daughters of God, washed clean by the blood of Christ. (even that sounds pretty wild).

I’m not really into women preaching, but I do believe that God can speak through anyone he chooses (maybe it’s just a personal style/taste thing for me). I am however a huge fan of women leading worship. They can really reach people on a different level than men, and the tones of their voices tend to really move people into a deeper or higher state of worship. At LifeChurch we have a woman lead at least one song a week, most weeks it’s two – and there is a very healthy response. And I encourage them to be worship leaders, not just vocalists, to really focus on leading people in the spiritual act of worship.

Maybe I am heretical?

18 thoughts on “Can/Should a Woman Lead Worship?

  1. Jeremy Erndt

    I agree with you completely on this topic. I think there is a different level when a girl leads a worship song. The dynamics, the different tone….I love that part of a woman leading worship. Typically we usually have one of our girl worship leaders sing a slower song. The crowd does engage much more when a girl steps up to the plate blast out a vocally dynamic and stunning song. One time for a special we did Anyway by Martina Mcbride and this girl from our team just blew everyone away. It was like there was a reverberating (sp?) sound throughout the building during the peak part of the song. I loved it, the atmosphere was great.

    I do however also think that you should be careful with song selection with women singers, ie. some songs are written by men, performed by men and designed for a male voice. We have experienced in the past when we do identical worship sets at both locations, the woman do not always thrive on certain songs that I do and vice versa. This can be a tough thing. We have learned to have a few staple songs to rely on in case this happens during a weekend rehearsal or practice. Great blog! Blog away Alex!

  2. Matthew

    Good thing no one told Darlene Zschech or Marie Barnett they couldn’t lead worship. We’d be missing out on some of the most used and powerful songs.

    I will say that we quite often struggle with this question at our house – well not really this question, but to what degree should Chelsea (my wife) be involved in ministry. It’s pretty clear that God has gifted Chelsea with an ability and desire to pastor and teach, however she doesn’t lead worship with me. We do see examples of women taking leadership roles all through scripture, but also see scripture setting limitations. We’re seriously seeking the Lord to hear his voice on these issues – but in the mean time, I’m continuing to develop a female worship leader, and my wife continues to teach in the church.

  3. Shannon Lewis

    In my personal study of the subject, I have no doubt as to whether or not women should LEAD worship, but I do question where one could Biblically be in the position of ‘Worship Pastor’, having authority over the ‘Worship’ department of the church. I posted an article not long ago on the subject of ‘Women’s Roles in the Church’ at my other blog:

  4. mandy

    as a female worship leader, i can say that i try to stay away from the “preachy/teachy” side of leading… because i don’t want to be in any kind of teaching authority over men. i don’t even do a “worship bible study” during practice, because i don’t wanna teach the guys on the team that are older than me. i AM, however, considering asking our seminary student bass player to lead a study for us….
    i guess i see my role as a worshiping musician/cheerleader (for lack of a better term) and not as someone in authority over the church. i have 4 men in authority over me, so i think my bases are covered.
    and i do frequently use our strong male vocalists in carrying the lead vox for certain songs.
    i am, however, painfully aware that miriam only led the women in worship, and mary sang all by herself. and then there’s the group worship led by the levitical band made up of the male priest musicians…
    so, i dunno.

    btw: the link to the original article isn’t working for me…. i’m really interested to read what is said there.

  5. Pingback:Can/Should a Woman Lead Worship? « Women in Worship

  6. Amy

    Every few weeks I am given a blessing by being able to lead our church in worship. It is by many standards a conservative church. Women are not given the title of pastor, and women do not serve communion. These are two things that I can let discourage me, because I grew up in a church where women were ordained ministers of the Gospel and also served communion on a regular basis.

    When I lead worship I sing in keys that fit my voice, and I know that doesn’t always work for the tenors and sopranos of this world. That above all things has been the biggest complaint when I have led. I have had comments from men saying that they enjoy my style of leading because they feel that they can sit back and worship. To me that is a huge thing. Isn’t our goal in leading to help usher people into a time of, as I like to call it, sitting at the feet of Jesus?

  7. Jeff M. Miller

    I’m all for women leading worship, but I’ll admit I am uncomfortable with women pastoring (but not teaching). I know the whole “authority over men thing” and “women should be silent in church,” but I believe those are very specific roles and situation that have no bearing on worship leading.

    In fact, I’m constantly trying to take a back seat and get some of the ladies on my worship team to lead. Some of them are finally getting comfortable with it. The truth is, there are just some songs that sound horrible with a male lead, no matter how good they are. Plus, let’s tell the truth, sometimes it’s hard to get men to stand up and be leaders of any kind, and so it falls to the women to lead, even if it is not their “role.” Read Scripture and you’ll find, even after the Lord set “limits,” He at times called upon a women to stand in the gap because no men could be found.

  8. alex

    I fixed the link – thanks for the feedback! What a lively subject…

  9. Jan Owen

    Well I guess I will go ahead and throw a bomb in the water here – since you asked. I am an ordained worship pastor, I am female, I am conservative and I teach and lead our entire worship ministry. At different times I lead communion or teach on Sunday mornings. I basically serve as an associate pastor at my church. I have served as a worship pastor for 13 years. As I have studied the issue of women in ministry I have come to the conclusion that we have not truly studied the whole of scripture with a true desire to understand God’s heart towards women and why certain things were written to certain churches. Two excellent books on the topic are “Beyond Sex Roles” by Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian and “Why Not Women?” by Loren Cunningham. Whatever your views may be, may I ask all of you to consider one thing that may not have occurred to you before. This is one of the most hurtful issues in church for many women. I have been treated very hatefully due to my position. When dealing with this topic we are all bound to disagree to some extent. I think an important thing to remember is to be LOVING in our discussions. I – and many other women – have been terribly hurt in the name of God as we have been judged and called horrible names. For myself, after much study and prayer, I am at peace with my calling. I can only say that God called me and I am being faithful to that calling. I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but I believe that women have much to offer. I wonder if we will get to heaven and God will sadly say “Why did you use only half of the army for the Kingdom?” I only urge you to know clearly WHY you believe what you do! Don’t just go by tradition or what makes you uncomfortable. Support those women around you that God has gifted and called. They need godly men to encourage them as they seek to obey God.

  10. Billy Chia

    I played on a worship team where the worship director was a woman and I learned tons from her wisdom. It was a privilege to be a part of her team.

  11. bobby

    Back to Matthews comment, the second one. Sometimes, when I hear Shout To The Lord, I do wish someone had told Darlene she shouldn’t lead worship. 😉

    That was a joke. Please don’t take me too seriously.

  12. andre solis


    I live in Costa Rica, my mom and dad are both pastors in my church, my mom is not just the pastors wife, and she has made her way through a machista world (by reading your comments I can tell is not a latin thing)

    We have about 5 services every week (theres worship in every single service and special events) , our church is attended by six thousend people.

    I’m a worship leader, and my worship pastor is an indredible 24years old single man, he is my role model as a worship leader. We are 6 worship leaders ando only two of them ar men (including the worship pastor)

    I am writing all this, cause I just think is not a matter of culture,marital status, sex, age… is a matter of being call by God is a matter of HIM being in your life leading you to do the things he wants you to do.

    Que Dios les bendiga! =)

  13. Tamryn

    I found this link very interesting. It is a long read but really worth while. It helps us understand what Paul was talking about in context and I found it really freeing. It is very difficult for women to go into the fullness of what God has for them when we have had this yoke put upon us.

    I hope this helps.

  14. hoolybop710

    I’m supporting this idea all the way! I can not imagine who would disagree with it. On the whole – make posts like this more often.

  15. Michelle

    I’m going through a very difficult time right now, and this post/blog has helped me. I’ve led worship from the keyboard for the last 6 months because there was no one else. During that time God molded and shaped me and showed me who I could be in Him! It was hard and scary, but ultimately it was an unbelievable growing experience. Now, my pastor just informed an elder who told me he doesn’t want me leading worship anymore. He wants one of the associate pastors to do it. It’s so hard right now. I’m searching the Word of God and trying to see if my feelings are substantiated. Should I just be happy for the 6 months? Or is this a true calling from God?
    I must say that God continuously spoke in my ear during this time…and it was amazing! I’m at a loss, and searching God’s perfect will for where my ministry should be.
    Thank you for posting and bringing up this topic…and thank you to all of you who commented.

  16. alex

    Michelle, that’s awesome that this could be a place of encouragement & discussion. I hope you stay faithful to the call God has placed in your heart/life and that you find the place that sees the value of a person who is called to leadership by God.

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