Let’s face it, anytime we use the word stage or performance, we run the risk of associating what we do as worship leaders with what rock stars do. For the purpose of discussion, let’s just assume that singing and playing music for the purpose of worshiping and leading others in worship from a platform in the front of the church is not anti-biblical or the negative shade of performance.
In fact, singing and playing music is also called “performing” music, so the musician who does so is a performer by basic definition. That’s ok. We’re not talking about those who orient the music/experience around themselves for their own glory. We’re talking about people who lead worship from up front. The stage. The platform. That’s ok.
Now on to the good stuff!
Stage presence is important when you are in front of anyone and your desire is to connect with and engage with them. Whether it’s through music or speaking, there is a basic need for the person on the platform to possess at least a minimal amount of awareness when it comes to stage presence.
Does it mean that stage presence is the end all be all of leading worship? Not at all. Worship is the primary focus of leading worship. Connecting with and engaging with others is part of our desire to be useful in the Kingdom. God has gifted us musically so that we can worship Him and to help others express their worship to Him.
I believe that all the tips and tricks in the world about stage presence for worship leaders will fall short if they don’t ultimately come from a grounded starting point. The foundation of your own worship leading stage presence should be a heart of worship.
Here’s a few thoughts to think about when you think about your own stage presence.
Nobody wants to be led by someone who is fake. Be real.
On the other hand, nobody wants to be led by someone who doesn’t BELIEVE what they’re singing.
So what good “stage presence” requires is two things: authenticity AND faith!
What I am not suggesting is that we should put on a mask to become something we are not. That is the BAD kind of performance. We don’t need to fake it, until we make it. No, we need to be sincere and genuine in our approach. That means you don’t have to always be smiling and cheery. It means we don’t have to be “happy” at all times when leading.
If something is weighing on your heart, SHARE IT. Of course, on the flip side we don’t want to feel like we’re being led by Eyore either. There is a time and place for mourning and for joy.
REPENT AND BELIEVE
As far as FAITH goes, we need to be able to REPENT and BELIEVE. To repent means to change your way of thinking. It doesn’t just mean to say we’re sorry for something bad we’ve done. It means that we acknowledge disbelief in our life and we allow God to change our thinking about it.
When it comes to leading worship, what that might mean, is times when we ARE feeling down or just not “into” it, we can allow our FAITH to carry us through. What this means is that we CAN express joy through leading worship, even when we don’t feel like it. We can ask sincerely “Why so downcast, oh my soul? Put your hope in God.”
By following through with that, we can lead authentically and boldly. We can look to the things that we are thankful for to find inspiration and motivation to lead others. This is being real. If you don’t “feel” into leading worship on a particular day or time, take a moment to pause and reflect (repent) letting the Holy Spirit bring to mind things that will help you “change your mind.”
Then, as your faith is strengthened you can lead in FAITH and find the peace and joy that the Holy Spirit wants you to lead in and from.
In summary, the best way to improve your stage presence is to BE REAL and to REPENT & BELIEVE!
Looking for some more practical ways on improving your “natural” stage presence? One of our most discussed articles talks about 10 ways to enhance your stage presence.