Worship Confessional Do’s and Don’ts

Hey Everyone,

I didn’t lead worship today, so I’ll pass on making a video “Worship Confessional” this week. I did sit in and play piano with the band, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve had two back-to-back weeks off from being the main worship leader and I’m ready to get back in that saddle again next week.

Recently I was chatting with Alastair Vance online because he was engaged in a Twitter conversation with someone about doing a “Worship Confessional”. The person he was chatting with had some concerns, and because I’ve experienced a handful of triumphs and pitfalls with them myself, I saw him recommend that they contact me.

So now a week or more later, I present to you my ideas of:

“Worship Confessionals – The Do’s and the Don’ts”

First, it’s important to understand what a “worship confessional” is. I’ve discussed them many times on the blog so you can do search the archives, or better yet – visit my friend Jay’s post, “What is a Worship Confessional” published back in June 2007 for a great read.

Assuming you “get” the concept of a Worship Confessional, let’s talk about a few do’s and don’ts. Please know that I don’t consider myself the authority by any means – make your own rules, but these are some of the things I’ve learned from doing a few of these over the last few years.


Mostly these are covered already in the concept of what a Worship Confessional Is. However:

  1. Do be honest and authentic.
  2. Do try to be short on video length. Nobody has time to watch your 15 minute video.
  3. Do respect your church staff, leadership, band, and singers.
  4. Do get ownership from your team members and leadership.
  5. Do share what you did to make the songs and arrangements “your own”.
  6. Do give credit where credit is due.
  7. Do try to give a text-version so those who don’t have time to watch the video can get the setlist.
  8. Do also post your setlist and worship confessional on TheWorshipCommunity.Com’s forums.
    (sorry, I couldn’t resist a shameless plug for our site!)

Now, from personal experience (my own experiences, and those around me), let me share a few pitfalls.


  1. Don’t try to copy or imitate everyone else. Be real, be authentic. People who watch the videos probably care more about hearing what songs you did, and how you used them, and don’t care so much about all the cool themes, titles, transitions, and credit rolls you create.
  2. Don’t ramble on and on. Keep it around 7 minutes or less … 5 minutes or less is even better. Nobody has time to watch your 15 minute video.
  3. Don’t use the worship confessional to bash your leadership, musicians, singers, or tech team. If you had problems or issues, it’s great to hear about them … that’s why it’s called a “confessional”. However, you should never use the internet as your public stage to gripe about the people who are volunteering with you. Discuss it first, then share it respectfully.
  4. Don’t do worship confessionals and constantly mention your church by name, by link, by tags in the keywords, etc., without first getting the ownership and vision of your leadership. If your church would rather not have your YouTube videos ranked in the Top Google Results of the search for your church name, don’t mention the church by name, and DEFINITELY don’t tag it in the video tags. On the other hand – if you do have their support, GO FOR IT – it’s a great way to get additional traffic and interest in what you are doing. (and oh, by the way … all that stuff about the disclaimer you have on your blog, and how it’s your own, and you can say what you want, and it doesn’t reflect the views of your church … BULL CRAP (sorry) … if you use your blog as a forum to discuss the specifics of your job and role at your church, and you do it by name, you are linking the two, I think your leadership has a right to speak to you about how you represent your employer. )
  5. Don’t make it all about “you” … include your band and singers whenever possible. (if they want to be involved)
  6. Don’t disrespect other team members who wish to not be included. Not everyone chooses to live the super-transparent lifestyle of a blogger, twitterer, or video blogger. Not everyone wants their mug on YouTube for everyone to find.
  7. Don’t let your Worship Confessional video be the first time your Worship Leader, Pastor, Elders, Musicians, Singers, or Church Members hear your frustrations over a situation.
  8. Don’t assume that nobody from your church reads your blog or cares what you do … they WILL find it, the WILL watch it. Also, those who are looking for something “bad to say” about your church will find it, too.
  9. Don’t say stupid things that will come back to bite you.

Example: We once did a Worship Confessional where I was talking about how good the breakfast was in the green room. A lady brought some taramasou once, and of course … any alcohol used in it was likely cooked out … but I made a joke on the worship confessional that “we had rum cake and were buzzing on the platform”. Someone was pretty offended by that remark. In addition, because I’d tagged the video with strong keywords back to our church’s web site, that video was the Page 1, Link #3 result on Google Search when searching for our church by name and city. In retrospect, that was a DUMB THING to say.

Resolution: I’m much more careful now, and I removed that video from YouTube.

I’m sure all of us have our own rules, or lack thereof. Nobody really likes rules, but boundaries can be helpful and can help save you some grief down the road. Just remember that what you do and say on the Worship Confessional videos is “public” in a major way, and once it’s online, you can’t really take it back … even if you delete it, there are copies of it in cache. Use wisdom.

Lastly, have fun. And don’t forget … you may want to remind your “viewers” what a “Worship Confessional” is every now and then … it helps new viewers “get it”.

Tell me about your “ups and downs” with Worship Confessionals!

For the Kingdom,

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Fred McKinnon is a Pianist/Composer from St. Simons Island, GA. Checkout the full BIO for more information and a complete bio. Worship Interludes Podcast - This podcast features instrumentals for prayer, meditation, soaking worship, relaxation, study music, and rest. Visit the Podcast page to listen or subscribe. Follow on Social MediaFacebookYouTubeInstagramTwitter

11 comments on “Worship Confessional Do’s and Don’ts

  1. Billy Chia says:

    Yeah Google has started putting youtube videos in the #3 ranked slot for almost any search – even if the video has relatively little link juice it still ranks highly – kinda lame, but it still happens.

    It is good to note that videos have a high probability of ranking highly.

    Instead of being upset at this I say game the system.

    Make videos that you would WANT everyone to see. Know that videos rank artificially high so make some youtube videos for keywords that you want people to use to find your church.

    Billy Chias last blog post..4 Must Read 4th of July Posts

  2. Fred says:

    Great remarks … and I agree … take advantage of the fact that those videos are going to get good rankings, and maximize that with good content that your church would be proud of.

  3. Ben says:

    Great stuff here Fred. I agree with the video comments. I miss so many “confessionals” because I really don’t have time or patience (my weakness) sit thru a 15 min video. I usually scan through them once they’ve fully loaded.

    I LOVED the “disclaimer” comment. I had one on my site since it’s enception and recently removed it.

    I’d LOVE to get my confessionals posted automatically to the Worship Community Forums…for some reason it didn’t work with Typepad?


    Bens last blog post..Happy Independence Day USA!

  4. Fred says:

    Hey Ben,
    Yeah – I still have my disclaimer, but it doesn’t give me the kind of license you’d think.

    Seems like the issue w/ Typepad was the inability to get a RSS feed ONLY for the “Worship Confessional” category. If you can make that happen, we can do that – otherwise, we’d auto-import every blog post of yours in, which wouldn’t go over so well. Oh well, you can always jump over there and post a link! 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting, btw!

  5. Tyler says:

    hey fred…

    i totally agree with your disclaimer thought. i plan to keep mine because i do think it serves a purpose, but i fully know that my views do represent my church for some people.

    Tylers last blog post..Fortuitous Bouncing

  6. Fred says:

    Thanks – you know, I really thought I was gonna get flamed pretty hard about that comment re: the disclaimer .. and maybe I still will … but glad we’re on the same page.


  7. Peter Park says:

    Thanks for the advice. I was wondering what to do about the videos. That’s why I only did one.

  8. Fred says:

    Thanks, Peter … maybe we’ll see some more! I hope you’ll change your RSS to allow us to see your full articles, instead of only the title – I’m missing lots of what you have to say these days because if I’m reading on my mobile, I won’t click over to try and load a full webpage, and I know many others feel the same. Just a suggestion, though – love your stuff!

  9. Alastair says:

    Great article Fred. Some very good advice there. I’m away to check the google search results now to see if any of my stuff is listed for our church….!!

    Alastairs last blog post..Video: Jesus Paid It All

  10. Fred says:

    Thanks, Alastair …
    Yeah, you never know how it gets indexed – and if it DOES get indexed, you just want to make sure you’ve represented it well. (me talking about buzzing off the rum cake on the stage, which of course, was only a joke, was NOT what our leadership thought was an ideal first impression for people googling our church!)

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