I close my eyes when I lead worship. Mainly because I don't wanna feel like I'm performing for the people. I don't want it to be something where I'm connecting with them but instead that, together, we're connecting with God through worship. I also close my eyes because I hate seeing people not worshiping God with everyone else. It's discouraging for me to see people sitting down with blank stares while the rest of the church is giving their all to God. It takes something away from it all from me. Instead of me focusing my efforts on praising God along with everyone else, I begin to think about how to get that person up and worshipping with us. Then again, maybe that's what leading worship is about.
I also close my eyes because I tend to sweat alot, so I need to keep the sweat out of my eyes, especially now in this brutal New York heat.
I think our eyes should be open, but you make a great point about not wanting to feel like you are performing. Sounds like you got the right kind of heart to do worship. I am sick of seeing or being part of performances.
I actually do a little of both. To me it is like telling a person 'how' to pray... there is no right or wrong but if you are leading... you have to do both so you lead.... eyes open.... and worship eyes closed. My personal opinion is if your spiritual barometer is in sync and you and your team is connected you can do both. When I have lead I tell the team at the end of verse or beggining of chorus, end of song watch for a cue or I like to use word cues as much as possible this does give the freedom for all to worship. We worship in 'spirit' and in 'truth'. although when you are a leader you have to lead but I see no reason why you can not incorporate both and be effective. It becomes natural and not so much as a job but you are 'leading' by example. You can take someone to the 'closet' to put on the garment of praise... but they have to choose to get 'dressed' and put the garments on. Eyes open or closed is not going to change that.
Closed eyes or open eyes are not as much the issue as the attitude of the heart is what the congregation sees. Yes, you must stay on top and lead and 'connect' with signs or word cues but I believe both can work and you can be an effective, spirit - led worship leader and worshipper.
All things in MODERATION. diane
As for me, some and some! I do sometimes wander off in worship with my eyes closed but in general I keep them open. That way I can stay on top of things a bit more as I serve the congregation. I keep an eye on my singers, my band, the pastor and the congregation as well a seeing if someone has come to the front to bring some kind of contribution (tongue, prophecy, bible reading, song etc). By the way it can be a bit frustrating if you feel it's right to do a certain thing and you want ot signal one of the singers or bandmembers and they have their eyes closed! But that's just me! :-)
All the best.
Oh my...this is something I have a very passionate opinion on - hang onto your seats LOL!
I prefer eyes open, and that is something *I* had to learn.
My old worship leader gave us a gentle remonstrance when she was building up our team -"when you shut your eyes, you shut people out" and she's right.
When I've visited other churches, I've seen various worship leaders lead worship with their eyes closed - how can they see what's going on in the congregation, if they are so into their own worship that they leave them out??
I think if you are leading worship, it's imperative you keep your eyes open as much as possible - a quick close during a strong phrase in a song, yes, but take a look out there and see what is happening! Make eye contact! With people that are just staring blankly, or look troubled, look at them, smile, show them God's love.
The phrase "The eyes are windows to the soul" was not just something made up on the fly. You look into someone's eyes, and a lot of times you can tell if they are sad, happy, lonely, lying, mischevious, or troubled.
I think being up front like that every Sunday, we have a responsibility to connect with the congregation - not from a performance standpoint, but from a "let's all connect with God together" standpoint. That means I am going to do my best to allow God's love to shine through me, and I am going to try and reach out to those that seem detached, and get them connected.
I don't get discouraged by the people with the blank stares. I used to, but then God showed me that people are all in a different place on their walks with Him, and some people just haven't gotten to that point of freedom yet. They may or they may not, but who am I to judge what they are thinking? They might not "look" in tune, but what if they are thinking about the words we are singing, and absorbing them? or praying? (yes the eternal optimist once more kicks in LOL) If I can show them God's love through my music, and let them see through my eyes to the window of MY soul, and they are touched...then yeah it is SO worth it to keep my eyes open during worship, even if it means sacrificing a bit of introspective time myself!
*steps off soapbox rather meekly and dusts self off* :-D
That's a good point. I tend to close my eyes and just worship God. But in your standpoint it made me think, that, I am not standing there to worship God all by myself. Being a Worship Leader means that we must lead our congregation to worshiping Him in spirit.
Most of the time, when I am really swept up into the song...I do close my eyes. I find that it helps me to filter out all the distractions so that I am just looking into Heaven. I'm not a performer...and I feel that IF I am watching the audience...they may feel the need to watch me. I want them watching JESUS! GBU~
Chris, what a great viewpoint. Thanks for sharing this. I agree that you have to connect with the people and sometimes they need to be "invited" with eye contact. I must admit that I do a little of both. Particularly with songs that touch my own heart, I have to close my eyes so that I don't lose control of my voice. I often get "choked up" (or almost) while leading. I find that sometimes the only way I can keep control is to close my eyes. Particularly when I see other congregation members really feeling the spirit.
That being said, I agree that eye contact is also very important. I try to connect with as many eyes as I can during each song (when I'm not getting choked up:) ). I agree that different people worship in different ways. I was talking with someone on our worship planning team and he really loved the songs we did that day, however, when I saw him he was just standing there, no expression on his face, not singing. Outwardly, there were no visible signs that he was worshipping him, yet he told me how much the songs really touched him. So, I guess you just never know!