For me it's been amazing to see what is happening in people's lives during the song service, and I can't see that with my eyes closed. Sharing from experience, I had one instance during a service when looking out, connecting with people through eye contact, when I spotted one woman who was completely disengaged from what was going on. I look for those people and hone in on them, with prayers and eye contact, praying for them that God will release whatever is keeping them from responding (i think some put it as the person with their arms crossed as if to say, "I dare you to make me want to worship God!" My leaders and I get a kick outta that from time to time). I spotted this woman, looked her directly in the eye and challenged her (via the song) with the line of the song we were singing at the time, The song is called The Promise, by Frontline Worship, and the last line says "Don't forget every promise He (God) says.". I kept eye contact with her as we sang that line, and I watched in amazement as God totally broke her through that simple eye contact and connection. She began to weep in her seat (she had been sitting down through the song service), and I watched in even more amazement the following week as she (now standing) began to raise her hands and respond to the service. Those are the kinds of things that the person may never come up and share with you, and you'll never know if your eyes are closed. God called us to watch and pray, and I believe that applies to worship. There is so much I would miss if my eyes were closed!!! Yes, when were close to God and living a life of worship, we don't need a leader looking at us to respond to God. But, for the one who doesn't know the abundance of living a life of worship, who better than I as the worship leader to connect with that person and allow them to see into my soul the joy that I receive from my relationship with God? As someone mentioned earlier, the eyes are the window to the soul. Am I shutting someone out because of my own insecurity or being intimidated by response or the lack thereof by not opening my eyes and allowing someone to see in? Opening my eyes during worship does not show a lack of reverence, the Bible never commands us to close them, and as a leader, how can I lead someone with my eyes closed? If I were to lead a blind person with my eyes closed we both might fall off a cliff. I think the same applies to worship. Not to try to manipulate an outcome, but to see what is happening and use that as a means to fight the enemy through prayer on behalf of those who may be struggling.
My eyes are almost always closed. I feel like if I focus not on the people around me, then connecting with God is a lot easier. I memorize all the lyrics and chords for every song just for that reason. I don't like having to look down to a music stand. For me, it distracts me from playing for Jesus. The memorization allows my hands to go into auto pilot so I can close my eyes and focus my attention to what deserves attention, and that, my friends, is Jesus! :)
I like you. short and to the point. Working at a camp with a ton of kids, closing my eyes seems to be the better part of valor. To be honset, I do like to watch the kids. Sometimes their facial expressions amaze me. There are times that I think they get worship better than I do. Open or closed, leading kids in worship is an inspiration.
Open, then close, then open again. Then I close them. Then I open them again... then if I'm feeling really crazy, I open one, and close the other, then I switch the open eye/closed eye (Camera 1, Camera 2, Camera 1, Camera 2). Then I open them both when everyone starts to laugh, then I close them when I start to cry because everyone's laughing at me.
Had to put some humor into this one.
My REAL opinion. It doesn't matter how you do it. God uses more than your eyes to lead others in worship. It's what's in your heart that leads people to His feet.
I have learned that it's best to keep your eyes open for most of the time, to gauge what's going on around you, to connect with the people, and see if they're with you. And to give hand signals to your band/team, and know that they're following you with where you're going in the song. When I'm playing the keys and leading, I want to see that I'm also playing the right notes, as I'm not one of those people who naturally can play without looking and be spot on. And, nothing worse to be in the thick of it, having your own personal worship while everyone is left standing there, staring. Ha.. seen it. Not good. While I don't think there should be, or is, a formula how to worship or what percentage of the time you should keep your eyes open specifically, I think common sense and still being true to your passion (withOUT performance) is necessary.
Oh, and I actually used to sing with my eyes closed a lot. It wasn't until I started leading that I found myself bonking the mic way too often, and it wasn't flattering. Sure, you try to be cool about it, but really, eating the mic with a loud *thwack* during a song is not glamorous. "Hello, my name is Nicki, and I'm a reformed mic eater." .... "Hiiiii, Nickkiiii.. ".
Hadn't thought too much about this till reading the blog. I have now been consciously catching myself trying not to lead the whole worship service with my eyes closed. I find it easy to close my eyes and "block" everyone out, but I have been paying a little more attention to the congregation as to whether or not they are into that particular song we are singing so I don't cut it off too early or stretch it out too long if it's not quite working.
When my eyes are open I mostly look up and consentrate on my worship projecting upward to God.