School of Music


Doctor of Worship Studies (DWS)


Hanna Byrd


Worship Leader, Trauma, Grief, Loss, Mourning, Praise


Liturgy and Worship | Music


The intent of this study is to examine the characteristics of a worship leader dealing with personal trauma or grief. This thesis also provides strategies for the worship leader, congregation, and pastoral leadership regarding how one grieves. Guided by the actual experiences of grieving worship leaders, this qualitative thematic analysis identifies perspectives that have not yet been explored and documented concerning the lives of Christian worship leaders. Perspectives on grief have emerged as themes through exploration of a small body of existing literature and personal interviews with participants who serve in their local churches and community. While serving in their leadership roles at various churches, worship leaders, musicians, choir directors, pastors, and music teachers experience setbacks, disappointment, and pain just as other members of the congregation. Even though these leaders are in a position that requires them to serve in front of others, he or she is not exempt from pain. The findings of this study may assist the worship leader and members of the body of Christ in conquering hindrances or stumbling blocks while leading worship in seasons of grief. This study will examine the expectations of worship leaders who are leading during times of pain and seeks to help churches cultivate and nurture any person in leadership who may feel ashamed about dealing with grief, trauma, or loss.