Leading with Presence… with or without Position

Are you a leader?

How and when do you lead? Let me rephrase that question… do you only lead when you have the position or are the focus of others?

Is your leadership dependent on position or place or are you a leader “on” and “off” the field?

Dave Jorn, Arkansas pitching coach, says,

A lot of your success and failure is going on in the locker room. Your leaders are key to managing the locker room.

“Locker Room Leaders” serve as the developers, models, and defendants of your “teams” culture. Through their words and deeds, on a daily basis, this type of leader can make or break a program. They can inspire others to achieve more or can deteriorate and undermine the team atmosphere. Effective “Locker Room Leaders” take pride in your program’s culture and do everything they can to enhance, protect, and preserve it. If someone acts in a way that is outside of what is considered appropriate, they will step in and set the person straight. They willingly and quickly confront those who do not act in a way that is aligned with your program’s vision, values, and standards. Often, effective “Locker Room Leaders” contribute more to your program’s success with their leadership than they do with their individual physical talent.

For example, just recently I was reading an article about the Philadelphia Eagles and their leaders. The coaches and players were polled about who they view as their leaders. Surprisingly enough, Carson Wentz their Quarterback and leader on the field was not who everyone viewed as their team leader. Instead, the safety Malcolm Jenkins was viewed as the most influential leader within the Eagles organization.

So let me ask you a previous question again in a different way… is your Christian leadership dependent on position, place, or ministry title or are you a leader at all times through word and deed?

In my particular area of ministry we can too easily have a mindset that if we are not the rostered “worship leader,” we can rest a bit and just quietly do our thing, and leave the “leadership” and “leading” to the worship leader position only. But… I think that problem exists across the board in churches. Think about it! How many times do we shrug off an opportunity to serve or to lead with the excuse that someone else will do it, or that it is the Pastor’s job?

What I typically tell my teams is that “everyone is a worship leader” and we lead from our presence instead of from our position.

I encourage my whole team, no matter what position they are serving from, to consider themselves as helping to lead the church in worship. The responsibility of leading worship isn’t limited to a rostered position; the responsibility is actually carried by the entire team. The same can be said about whatever area you serve in! The same can also be said about all of us and the way we live for Christ daily. We can lead others to Him and point to His goodness by leading “on” and “off” the field, “in” and “out” of the spotlight.

Every time you step into the world you have the privilege and opportunity to encourage and lead others to worship God, so use everything you have to point people to Jesus… whether that is a “high” exalted position or the lowest of the low. The Senior Pastor I serve under, Herb Williams, has always told me that if revival breaks out he wants to be a part of it… not necessarily serving in leadership, but he is okay with cleaning the toilets if that is what it takes to point people to Jesus. That should be our mindset.

Romans 12:1 says,

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship.

You may not have a microphone to sing, but you have a voice. You might not have the position, but you have your presence.

In light of this, there are some things to keep in mind. Let’s think together!


  • Lead from wherever you are.

It is not solely up to the worship leader to lead the congregation, and it’s not just up to a Pastor to live like Jesus in the community! Each of us as believers have a responsibility to be leaders wherever we are, and from whatever position or ministry that we find ourselves serving from.

1 Corinthians 10:31 says,

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Maybe your gifting is musical and you find yourself on stage leading others, maybe you are serving behind the scenes with media or sound, maybe you are teaching a class or just helping someone supervise and chaperone children. In all things our first and foremost goal should be to bring God the glory and to serve excellently.

Just a side note for all my musical folks: We are all leaders. If we craft and perfect beautiful songs and compelling setlists, but fail to help carry and engage the church alongside the worship leader, we have missed the mark. You aren’t on stage because of your excellence… you are on stage to lead people into the presence of God.

  • Set the standard.

Being a leader is not limited to a schedule or place. True leaders step into that role and maintain it until they die. A good leader knows when to lead and when to follow, when to speak and when to listen. We set the standard for those around us. For me, that might mean leading passionately and genuinely from stage. For others, that might mean leading the congregation in response to my leading from stage.

As a leader you set the standard. We should have the same level of passion “on” and “off” the field! If we are only able to demonstrate leadership when we are in the front then we have missed the point. The leadership demonstrated in the spotlight should be a mere overflow of the leadership and passion for Christ that we demonstrate everyday. The standard should always remain the same.

  • Make the most of every opportunity.

Our posture is either inviting or distancing people. Whether we like to admit it or not, when we are labeled as “leaders” or as “Christians” people begin to watch us and take notice of even the things we may not be aware of.

In a blog by Autumn Hardman from Hillsong church she says this,

Our body language says more than we think it does. If we have our heads down, solemn faces, rigid bodies, while the worship leader is doing their best to engage and lift the congregation — there is disparity in our message. It’s all of our responsibility to be in unity in leading and encouraging the congregation through whatever position we are serving in.

There is no job too big or too small and we need to make the most of every opportunity placed before us.

Philippians 2:4 says,

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

All of us are actually leaders both “on” and “off” platform and “in” and “out” of the spotlight, and it’s our job to collectively be leading people into the presence of Jesus. All of us have something to bring to the table. Everyone matters. Everyone leads from wherever they are.

Proverbs 11:14 says,

Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.


How are you leading?

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