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!!

Views: 148

Comment by Sam Hornedo on September 23, 2009 at 10:25pm
Remember that we as worship leaders should be more focused on worshiping the Lord ourselves and setting the example for the body to follow. In the end all we are doing is creating the opportunity for the body to worship the Lord and enter into His throne room. Think of the term Worship Leader. First, we have to be worshiping and if we are leading others we need to be headed to where we want the body to follow, mainly the throne room of the Most High God. Once you start focusing on how you are worshiping the stage fright and nervousness goes away. God doesn't need us to facilitate the worship, he just wants to to worship Him.

The rest will just happen according to His will.
Comment by Diana Jurss on September 23, 2009 at 10:33pm
I had a guitar teacher who was telling me about 2 kids he gave fiddle lessons to, they were a brother
and sister. He said technically the sister was better, she could play very precise and accurately, but
then he said he thought someday the brother would be the better player. I asked why and he said
because the bother plays more loud and confidently and even though he makes mistakes he is not
timid or afraid. So then I asked my teacher what was the obstacle for the sister. He thought for
a few moments and said--well, I suppose pride. I tucked that little lesson in the back of my mind
but never forgot it.
Comment by Rebecca on September 23, 2009 at 10:33pm
Thanks Sam! That is what I meant, If we are authentically engaged in worship the rest just doesn't matter anymore. We lead by example, so as a leader, we need to be totally engaged in worship! I like how you said that: " God doesn't need us to facilitate the worship, he just wants to to worship Him.The rest will just happen according to His will. Thanks so much for your input !"
Comment by Rebecca on September 23, 2009 at 10:39pm
Wow Diana! Thanks! That was a great lesson!
Comment by Junjie on September 24, 2009 at 3:30pm
I actually did a blog on stage fright nearly three years ago. It gives the two factors that create stage fright and some tips on how to overcome them. Check it out here and let me know what you think? :)
Comment by Rebecca on September 24, 2009 at 4:05pm
Thanks Junjije~ I think I understood your blog. Let me see if I have this right. Stage fright comes from the feeling that you are not in control or the feeling that everyone is looking at you. Not the actual fact that everyone is looking at you and you are not in control right? Because I think the God needs to be in control and you ought to have a rested assurance of that. Usually when I am "in control" that's when I really goof up. :-)
Anyhow, I've recieved some hearty conversation on my facebook page on the topic as I've linked this there. I'd love to see what you can add to their coments so I will post them in a bit.
Comment by Rebecca on September 24, 2009 at 4:09pm
Ok, I am going to move some of the comments from my Facebook over so they can all be in one place:

Greg says: stage frieght is easy no matter how you try to describe it or break it down it is at its root fear plian and simple. fear is not of God so the answer quit simply lies in faith and trust in God u can not claim to have either and get stage frieght. which means u r a control freak and refuse to allow God to guide and direct u because you elevate your self above God yet below other humans. in my opinion ofcourse :)

and then followed up with: I was breaking it down to its rawest simplest form getting to the absolute root of which I stand by. However I do understand, I am a performer myself and though I have never experienced stage fright, I can still get very anxious sometimes. I want to do well, I want to please God I want to please the people, I have worked So hard that it might be ... Read Moreperfect, anything less than perfect would be a disapointment to me. Then I rrealize how many I's are in those statements and admit I am trusting in myself and my efforts and not making a 100%pure noice for, through, and to God

Jen said this: Mostly regarding Greg's comments::
Stage fright is not fear. It is a physical manifestation of anxiety in a stressful situation - public speaking, playing in public, etc. So the word fright shouldn't really even be used. Performance anxiety is probably better. And note to self: do not say I have stage fright anymore! :)

next: I disagree. I also disagree with blanket statements like "u r a control freak and refuse to let God guide and direct u". I have anxiety when I play. I am new to it. I pray and give it over to the Lord always. The Enemy attacks in various forms, and it does not mean the saint being attacked is to blame. Your statement implies that lack of faith is the reason for any anxiety.

next: The way I see it, playing in public is drawing me closer to the Lord and learning to rely on Him more - my worship is for Him, not me, and it is a process I am working through. And praise the Lord that He is patient with me!
Comment by Rebecca on September 24, 2009 at 4:09pm
One more comment: As a response from my worship pastor: Wow - quite the discussion going on here. I also think that a little nervousness is normal, and actually good, when you "perform". I have heard from so many musicians, speakers, etc. that have been doing this for years who still get nervous every time they go on stage. Many of them say that it actually helps to keep them from getting too ... Read Moreapathetic.

We all need to rely on God's strength to carry us through, not try to do it all on our own strength. We all want to do our best to please God, so a little excited nervousness before we start to me, shows that you really feel what you're doing is important and you want to do the best job you can to please Him!

So, Jen, don't worry about it! I think what you're experiencing is perfectly normal, and nothing to worry about. I know the more you do it, the more confident you'll feel and probably will begin to feel a bit less nervous each time you do it. But, I don't think it will, or should, ever completely go away.


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