Leading worship or "worship leading" is a term that seems here to stay, for better or for worse. As long as we understand what a worship leader's job is (and isn't) we don't object to using the phrase.
What a Worship Leader DoesAt the most basic level, a worship leader is responsible for leading music and singing in a worship service, and is often also responsible for the planning and executing (or delegating) the entire service (not just music). For those whom God has called and gifted to lead, the task is not only a joy but an immense responsibility. Think of it this way: a worship leader is like a chef who designs a meal for the joy of all those attending. The feast he or she spreads before God's people is a feast of truth – who God is and what He has done for us in Jesus. The truth is served up in seemingly infinitely varied ways, from hamburger to filet mignon, but the chef must follow some universal rules of diet and nutrition if he is to keep his patrons both satisfied and healthy. So it is with worship leaders – they are called to spread a banquet of songs, readings, and prayer that has enough gospel content to nourish the souls of their people, not simply give them a sugar rush. Yet leaders are not only called to spread the banquet, but also to eat and drink and be satisfied in Christ in a way that is genuine and contagious. Worship leaders make more of an impact on their people then they often realize.
What a Worship Leader Does Not DoWe must be careful to remember that while leaders should strive to motivate and impact God's people with God's truth – in heart, mind, and strength, he or she does not have the power affect people spiritually in a way that will be transformative. Sure, musicians can move people, but the Lord is the only one who can make worship more than simply a pep rally or a concert. By the work of the Holy Spirit, God awakens people to the glories of Jesus and makes inner changes in His people beneath the level of mere emotions. Leaders are called to humbly submit to the Spirit's leadership and to continually acknowledge their helplessness to change people, asking for Him to be powerfully at work.