The Most Important Words You’ll Say this Sunday

It’s 30 seconds to service start time.  The pre-service music is playing. You and your worship team take the stage. You’ve worked hard to prepare for this moment… selecting and memorizing music, leading rehearsal, arranging the slides in ProPresenter, and even one last time through the music at sound check this morning.

A final check to make sure you’re instrument is tuned. You give a thumbs up to your team to let them know you’re ready for a great opening worship song.  The lights come up and…

As a worship leader you pour your heart into preparing the music, but do you take time to think about what you will say before the music even begins?

Believe it or not, one of the most important parts of the worship set is the opening lines you will speak to welcome the congregation. Yet, it’s the one part of the worship set that is LEAST prepared for each week by worship leaders I know.

The opening words — what I simply call the “Welcome” here at The Journey — are just as critical as the opening song. Still, many worship leaders don’t think about what they’re going to say until the lights come up.  At that point they “let the Spirit lead”… or what the rest of us like to call “wing it”.

But the Welcome is important.  It makes people feel welcome, gives direction, establishes leadership, and either adds energy to your opening worship set or sucks the life out of it.

In fact, I think it’s so important that this past week at my monthly Worship Leader Training meeting with our volunteer worship leaders, I spent nearly the entire training on these important few words.  We practice these words in rehearsal every week, and even in our sound check on Sunday.  And to help the worship leaders at my church as they prepare to lead on Sunday, here’s the quick 1,2,3 I gave them on how to prepare to open the service…

#1 – Be Ready! – Always know what you’re going to say before you walk on stage. It’s not that I don’t trust them… I don’t trust me either. I know that if I wing it, I won’t bring my best, and at some point I’ll no doubt say something unclear, unwelcoming, or just plain dumb (or worse… all three – ha!).

To help our volunteer worship leaders, I give them a basic script for what to say to open the service. We practice it each week at rehearsal, and if there are changes week-to-week we discuss them in advance.  First words matter, so we plan it.

#2 – Be Warm! – When you open the service you want every person in the room to feel welcomed and that you are glad they are there. A cold and wooden welcome is no welcome at all. Memorizing your weekly welcome helps you become comfortable so it’s not rigid.

And I even give our worship leaders a word picture to help them… Imagine a friend is coming to dinner. They ring the doorbell, you open the door, give them a warm welcome and invite them in for dinner.  That’s the kind of warmth and welcome we won’t our congregations to feel. If they feel welcome, you’ve already won the battle of breaking down the barriers so they’ll follow you in worship.

By the way… this is especially important for any first time guests in your church on Sunday!

#3 – Be Quick! – You don’t have have to give a 2 minute opening to make your congregation feel welcome.  Enough said.

Invest some time this week to make sure that the first words your congregation hears on Sunday are clear and welcoming!

Your partner in ministry,



PS – The Early Bird Deadline for my new Worship Leader Coaching Network is coming THIS WEEK – on September 15, and I want to ask you to prayerfully consider joining!


Apply before September 15 and receive the discounted Early Bird Rate (save $600 — like getting 2 months free in the network) and IMMEDIATELY receive over $813.00 in FREE ministry and personal growth resources!


I have found in my own life that personal coaching is THE BEST way to experience personal and pastoral growth. And after coaching well over 200 worship leaders in the last 7 years, I have a personal track record of helping Worship Leaders grow themselves — and their ministries.


In the Coaching Network, you will:

Join me for a monthly 90-minute coaching session where I will teach you practical, “will work tomorrow” strategies for leading a thriving worship ministry

* Be able to have your specific questions answered about your team and the challenges you’re facing. This isn’t a network about information, it’s about implementation. I’m committed to help you implement the ideas and processes I’ll teach you.

* Learn how to get more done in ministry, to get further planned in advance, and to maximize your leadership skills to lead a growing worship ministry.

* Receive over $1,400.00 in free resources from Worship Leader InsightsPLUS free membership in the Renegade Pastors Coaching Network (with a monthly value of $2,667.00 — keep reading for details). You get two networks for the price of one!

* Plus a lot more!


Apply before September 15 and receive the Early Bird rate of $197 per month ($600 in savings — like getting 2 months free), plus over $813.00 in FREE resources immediately up registration!

Here is what other worship leaders have said about how they’ve grown in my coaching network:

“We have been implementing many changes in our Sunday Service System. The result has been less stress on Sunday mornings and throughout the week, an increase in attendance and retention of new attendees, better communication between myself and the other staff and volunteers, and an easier rehearsal time.”

– Josiah Herried, CenterPoint Christian Fellowship, Tacoma, WA


“I would not be exaggerating to say that in my case this network has been life/ministry transforming. In this past year the Worship arts Department has grown more than in the last 7 years combined. This network really helped to de-stress my life and increase my effectiveness as the Worship Pastor.”
– Bode Abodunde, World Harvest Christian Center, Pennsauken, NJ


“Don’t miss this opportunity to steward the next year of your life, purposing to learn how to grow yourself, your team and your church into the healthy, growing and thriving ministry God wants for you. Pastor Jason is a comforting, thorough, trustworthy and practical teacher of Biblical truths that will propel your worship and leadership to the next level – and you’ll have fun through the process.”
– Jeff Little, Ridgecrest Church of the Nazarene, Ridgecrest, CA


“This network blew my mind! I wish I could have attended this network before our church exploded in growth. I would have implemented everything I learned right from the beginning. There is such much I have learned from this network. I never knew how much potential my worship ministry could have before attending this network.”
– Jeff Craig, CrossPointe Church, Yorba Linda, CA


Visit coaching for additional video testimonies from worship leaders just like you!



P.P.S. Since you may need even more details about the coaching network, check out this Q and A… but don’t procrastinate – the network begins in less than 60 days, and there are a limited number of spaces available:

Here’s a powerful question for you: What could you do over the next year that would dramatically impact the development of your worship ministry and your personal growth as a leader more than this network?

Imagine for a moment, what if …

  • Your worship team could double over the next year and so could your personal effectiveness?
  • You could consistently get everything done at the office, manage your staff and volunteers well, see consistent growth in excellence and still get home on time for dinner and family fun each night?
  • You could develop personal leadership growth habits that help you lead yourself and your team at an optimum level?
  • You could achieve greater clarity and a stronger working relationship with your pastor?
  • You were able to work with your pastor to plan your services months in advance, and create more impactful services than ever before, while reducing the stress of Sunday?

What would your life and church look like one year from now if your worship team and effectiveness grew by 50%? I can’t promise these results but I can say that they are typical of results I’ve seen in the nearly 200 worship pastors who have completed my coaching process over the last 7 years.

I’m not teaching you theory or stuff that I’ve only read about. I’m coaching you as a fellow worship pastor and practitioner who is in the trenches day after day leading a growing worship ministry. In addition, the coaching process that I will lead you through is a proven process that has been effective with nearly 200 churches who have been through this coaching process, and hundreds more who have taken part in my one-day seminars.

** If you are ready to apply now, click here to read more and apply online: coaching 

Instead of you flying to our office in New York City for an ‘in person’ coaching network, you will participate in this coaching network via your computer.

Think about it, you will experience the same network experience that others have experienced while SAVING THOUSANDS of dollars in travel costs and SAVING DOZENS OF HOURS on cross-country flights.

The short answer . . . I will share every worship ministry and personal development principle I know and give you every resource I’ve developed to help you implement each principle.

Don’t worry, it will not be overwhelming . . . everything will be delivered in a manageable bits over the course of the year.

All that said, here’s the ‘official list’ of all that you receive:

  • Monthly hands-on coaching from me.
  • A proven coaching process that leads to growth and health.
  • Over $1,400.00 in FREE resources from Worship Leader Insights.
  • Unlimited email access to me and the WLI team.
  • MP3s of each session for your review. NOTE: Even if you miss the exact date, you can listen to the network at your leisure.
  • Free attendance at all WLI training events during your network.
  • Private “call-in” times with me to have your specific questions answered in more detail.
  • A private weekend training event (in sunny South Florida) exclusively for Tele-Coaching members, complete with a behind-the-scenes look at The Journey on a Sunday morning ($1500 value)
  • The opportunity to grow and take your church to the next level.


NEW! As a member of the Worship Leader Tele-Coaching network you will also receive a FREE membership in the Renegade Pastor Network ($2,667.00 monthly value)!

In addition to all the free resources and training you will receive from me, you will also receive over $2,667.00 in resources and training from the Renegade Pastors Network every month, including:

  • LIVE MONTHLY UPDATE AND LEADERSHIP BRIEFING – This monthly “pastor to pastor” call (which will be recorded on MP3 for your library) will be personal, practical, and packed with content ($199.00 per month value)
  • Monthly Ministry Equipping interview with noted author or ministry leader ($195.00 per month value)
  • RESTRICTED ACCESS Online Membership Site ($99.00 per month value)
  • Member Only 30% DISCOUNT on all WLI and CLI resources ($245.00 value)
  • RESOURCE DOCUMENTS AND DIRECTORY ($399.00 per month value). If there’s a document that we use at The Journey or that is shared by someone else in the network (and I think its helpful) I’ll share it with you.
  • Over $813.00 in FREE Resources immediately upon registering for the Coaching Network

Plus much, much more . . .

As you can see, just the tangible benefits you will receive as part of this network will far out-weigh your monthly financial investment.

** If you are ready to apply now, click here to read more and apply online: coaching 

Each coaching session is 90-minutes long and there will be monthly coaching sessions for 12 months. This is a big commitment but I want to make sure that we fully cover all 7 of the Worship Leader Challenges and I’ve outlined in my resources.

You will complete the network with a personal library worth of worship ministry leadership materials and personal development insights.

I have a degree in Sacred Music, and I can guarantee you that what you will learn in this network is the ‘practical, will work tomorrow’ stuff they don’t teach in college or seminary!

We will cover each of my Seven Challenges of a Worship Pastor plus issues related to personal development, time management and more. As a reminder, the seven challenges are:

* The Personal Challenge – How to develop personal leadership growth habits that help you lead yourself and your team at an optimum level
* The Pastor Challenge – How to achieve clarity and a develop a strong working relationship with your pastor
* The Planning Challenge – How to plan your services months in advance, and create more impactful services than ever before.
* The People Challenge – How to double your Worship Team volunteers and strengthen their commitment to the church through a proven audition system that leads to growth and health.
* The Provision Challenge – How to invest wisely the resources spent on the Sunday service for now and the future, especially in a troubled economy
* The Professionalism Challenge – How to create a culture of excellence that brings the very best out of you and your volunteers
* The Production Challenge – How to ensure that every Sunday service is successfully planned for and executed, with nothing left to chance


The new Worship Leader Coaching network is now available 100% online and features a new on-demand format that allows you to participate anywhere at anytime… at your own convenience. This means no long distance phone calls, you can participate from home after work if you prefer, or if you’re going to be away, you can still watch the video reply of the network without missing a thing!

The network will begin on Friday, October 11 and remember, each session is only 90-minutes so it will not consume your entire day.


In addition to the videos, you will also receive an mp3 of each session because… hey, we all know that ministry can be messy and uncertain. By the end of our network you will have over 20 hours of personal and practical ministry coaching that will help you not only where you are now, but for years to come!

As I mentioned earlier, this network is not for everyone but if you choose to apply and you are accepted, I would like to offer you a no-hassle, no questions asked guarantee.

Here it is: I’m so confident that you will find this Network beneficial that any time prior to the fourth monthly meeting you can call my office and tell me that this network isn’t benefiting your church or your leadership ability and I will refund everything you have invested, including any long distance costs you might have incurred.

Plus, you can keep any of the resources, MP3s or seminar materials that you have received to date.

In other words, I want to remove any fear you might have in joining this network. You can try it for four months with absolutely NO RISK!


I have tried to keep the monthly investment in this network as low as possible. But remember, you are receiving thousands of dollars of resources, free passes to my seminars, email support and private consulting. At the same time, you are saving thousands of dollars in hotel, flight costs, rental car expenses, gas, etc.

That said, the monthly investment is $197 per month when you apply BEFORE September 15 ($247 per month after September 15). Once you are accepted, your credit card will be charged for the first two months.

You’ll find that is about the same as taking 3-4 key team members to one of the major worship conferences this year (registration, travel, hotel, meals).

HOWEVER, with the Tele-Coaching network…

  • You get 12-months of hands on personal training with systems that ACTUALLY work in churches of all shapes and sizes
  • You walk away with $1,400.00 of FREE Resources (try doing that at the resource table for your next Worshp Conference)
  • The training doesn’t end after 3 days… in addtion to the 12-monthly session, you get audio MP3’s of each session, meaning you walk away with a library of over 20 hours of nuts-and-bolts practical systems to build a health and growing worship ministry and share with the key leaders in your church.
  • Personalized Q&A call-in sessions to have all of your questions answered about what we disucss in each session
  • Plus much more!

** If you are ready to apply now, click here to read more and apply online: coaching 

In addition to the monthly session, you will be assigned to read or listen to one of my resources plus another book (generally, a ministry leadership or business book with clear application to ministry). While the network will stretch you to grow, study and read, it will not be overwhelming. I’ll help you prioritize so you can get the most from the network.

At the same time, there will be opportunities for you to share your ideas and learnings from the network plus you’ll be able to submit prayer requests and ask questions to me and everyone else in the network.

God has given me a unique opportunity to serve in a church that is not only passionate about reaching and discipling people, but also returning what we have learned back to the kingdom so that other churches can do the same in their cities and towns.

In the last 12 years of my ministry here, I have been able to build systems for developing a thriving worship ministry that have worked not only here, but in churches all over the country. The reason I am doing this network is because I want to see you succeed in fulfilling your mission in the local church, and I believe with all my heart that this network can give you tools, insights, and systems to do exactly that.

In 2002, Jason Hatley helped launch The Journey Church in New York City, directing the programming of their worship services. He served as the Pastor of Worship Arts and has built from scratch The Journey’s worship arts team, a group of over 200 artists and technicians who develop and implement the creative and technical elements at weekly Sunday services.

Currently, Jason and his family live in Boca Raton, FL to serve as the Pastor of Worship Arts at The Journey’s newest location in South Florida.

The Journey has been recognized as one of Outreach Magazines fastest growing and most creative churches.

Jason has been a worship leader since 1996. He invests in Worship Pastors around the country through interactive coaching networks and worship planning resources. He written for Worship Leader Magazine, and has been a featured break-out speaker at the Willow Creek Arts Conference (2007-2009), The Purpose Drive Worship Conference (2003-2004), as well as seminars around the country. He has a B.M. in Sacred Music Performance from Appalachian State University.

Jason is the founder of, the author of nearly a dozen resources on Worship Leadership, including the books Engage: A Guide to Creating Life-Transforming Worship Services and Revolve: A New Way to See Worship.

Please complete the application and return it to my office ASAP. Once you’ve been accepted you will receive instant access to all the recordings, resources and files from the first session last week. You can easily watch the replay of the coaching webinar and catch up without missing a thing!

** If you are ready to apply now, click here to read more and apply online: coaching 

Let me know if you have any questions . . . just email