Lead Worship Using MP3s

by Pastor Terry Gee         

 So you don’t play guitar or piano but you want to have worship songs in your small group? No problem – using recordings can be a great alternative. Be sure to follow a few guidelines to avoid some common pitfalls.

Prep: Listen and Sing Along First

When choosing your song recordings, remember that not all recordings were created equal. Some are in keys that are too high or too low, and some recordings have special elements that you may or may not want in a small group worship setting like 2 minute guitar solos or 3 minutes of spontaneous singing. Listen through the whole recording beforehand and sing along to make sure it’s in an acceptable key.

Still Lead: MP3s Make Lousy Leaders

You should still lead the time. Invite your group to worship. Maybe read a portion of Psalms first. Pray beforehand and turn your hearts to God. Pray after the songs finish. It’s no less of a worship time because you are using recordings. It’s less of a worship time if your group is not exalting God from the heart. Lead them to worship by what you say and do, and you will be a true worship leader.

Still Sing

Even though the recordings have a lead singer, you should still lead the singing. Use the recordings as a helper, not as the leader. It’s much nicer to hear the leader of the group singing and sing along with him or her than to just sing with a recorded leader. Again, this will require a little bit of prep on your part. Be familiar with the song and have the lyrics so you can lead the group into the next verse or chorus of the song.


If you’re doing multiple songs, try making a playlist so it will start the next song right after the first one ends. This avoids having to poke around on your MP3 player to find the next song and can make it as seamless as possible. Not necessary, but helpful.

I hope this makes leading worship times in your small group easier and more enjoyable! 

Kay Carey