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Buskers – a model for leading worship

Bosco's buskers photos
Bosco's buskers photos

Each year I love the World Buskers Festival in Christchurch. They are so much fun – but I also learn so much from them. About leading worship. I have discussed busking (street theatre) with several of them. They are quick to understand my point about the similarities between worship leadership and busking, and we add to each other’s insights.

This year I particularly noticed the shared “texts”, responses, “patter” – shared between many buskers. A popular one this year: if someone wearing a backpack walked past “it’s OK, you can take your parachute off now, you’ve landed!” These are like the shared responses we share across communities and with other worship leaders.

I have written about this previously and it is worth repeating some of what I have learnt from buskers about worship leadership:

1) A crowd gathers a crowd

2) Encourage the crowd to be close together

3) Buskers gather individuals into a group and send them away as individuals transformed by the experience

4) Actions can be far more significant than a lot of words

5) Setting an atmosphere of anticipation

6) Involving the crowd

7) The energy of the crowd encourages the energy of the busker and hence the energy of the total experience

8) Adapt a set “script” to the particular context [if the eight becomes a smiley face on your computer – just giggle!]

9) Pacing, time [less than an hour]

10) Variety that appeals to everyone present

11) It is clear who is leading – by costume, movement,…

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