Quite an interesting topic this issue of stage freight…
I don’t know any worship leader who doesn’t have it or at least struggled with it at some point and yet, there really doesn’t seem to be a concrete 12 step program for over coming it. This topic was brought up at our worship training session and our pastor opened the floor to suggestions; I don’t think any one of us had a good concrete answer. I thought I would jot down some of my thoughts on the topic and hopefully some of you out there will have things to add that I can happily bring back to those who ask:
First is the why…why do we get stage freight? I think it is partially because getting up in front of a lot of people makes us feel exposed and vulnerable. We are of course afraid of ridicule or criticism. Being a worship leader puts a whole new twist on it too. As worship leaders our purpose is to get up there to NOT be noticed. So if we are flat, sharp, instruments not tuned we bring attention off of the glory of God and onto ourselves which is the one thing we do not want to happen! I do not want my ignorance to detract from the glory of God!
Then there is also the element of pride. We want people to like us, enjoy the music we are providing and to appreciate all the hard work that goes into a Sunday morning. Yes, pride is the wrong way to go here, but we cannot deny that element in our human nature.
So, what do we do about it? How do we overcome stage freight? I’ve got a few ideas…only because God taught me through reality discipline. Yep, my first solo at church…. Oh it was great! (being sarcastic here) I had stage freight so very bad that everything stopped, I couldn’t hear the music any more and I couldn’t sing a single note. I was the lead in a duet and the other person had to sing the melody for me! I froze solid! I will never forget that day or the four minute song that seemed to last five hours. We were singing the song “Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns. It’s funny how the lyrics seemed to mock my fear. Was I listening to the voice of truth at that time?? Nope, not even close…
So through that and several other circumstances, God allowed me to be humiliated…which in turn gave me humility. Once humbled some, God called me to lead children’s worship. Man, if you want to be crazy and feel humiliated, try children’s worship. Dancing, yelling, jumping....There is no room for pride there.
How is it now? Well I get nervous every time I get up there. Of course I do, but that’s because I do feel vulnerable. Do I freeze up in sheer terror any longer? Nope! How’s did I overcome that?
~ First, Be prepared, practice, know your songs inside and out…like the back of your hand. “Practice prevents problems”
~ Second lose your pride: You may be so concerned with yourself and what you’re doing that you are making it all about the ME instead of the HIM.
~ Third , realize that everyone feels a bit nervous on stage…you are not alone!
~ Fourth~ Lean back into the arms of God. Worship comes from God, in fact all things come from Him. We cannot worship if it had not come first from Him. God wants us to succeed! Especially when we worship Him! I mean isn't that the entire point of our creation?! Yet we cannot seem to trust him to show His Glory though us on a Sunday morning. It's His worship, lets let Him be in charge :-)
~ Be authentic, if you have been worshipping all week and seeking Him, It will show on Sunday morning.
~ And last but not least, be fully engaged in worship. If you are completely focused on Him and you accurately view the importance and responsibility of leading your congregation by example, you simply won’t have time to worry about the “me”.
So any agrees or disagrees here? I’d love to hear some more thoughts on the topic. Thanks in advance for the responses. I can’t wait to hear what God has to teach me through all of you out there!!