In the wonderful world of congregational worship, “stage presence” can be a taboo subject. Many feel that it is something only “performers” should be worrying about, not us in the church. However, it is something that we must pay attention to if we want to be the best we can be.
So first, let’s define it. Here’s what I’d consider a general definition of stage presence:
“…a quality defined by a performer’s ability to command the audience’s attention through projection, focus, attention, expression, confidence and so on…”
The goal of stage presence is to be physically engaging and open with your audience. It increases your connection with them, and more importantly, it helps to keep their attention. It helps keep their focus on you.
However, in the arena of worship, we don’t want to be the focus. Our responsibility is to help people focus their attention on the Lord. So what is a more practical definition of stage presence that better fits us as worship leaders? I would define it as:
“An ability to lead others in worship by demonstrating the passion, sincerity, joy and range of expressions in worship. It is engaging the congregation by sincerely worshiping in a way that makes them want to join with us.”
Here are some of the elements of that kind of stage presence:
Physical – Body language, facial expressions, movement, posture and appearance.
Spiritual – Focus, personal engagement, sincerity and preparation.
Attention to these areas is vitally important to developing our stage presence.
Here are five ways we can start growing in this area:
- Utilize an appropriate amount of self-awareness.
- Incorporate new expressions in your private worship time.
- Ask God to help you deal with any areas of insecurity or fear—especially with new types of expression.
- Continue to study God’s Word to explore the many ways we are commanded to worship.
- Regularly ask your leaders and those you trust what they see.
One word of caution: Stage presence can quickly turn into performance without the right boundaries or focus. Our focus when broaching this sensitive subject should developing an understanding of the expressions of worship that Scripture commands us to do. This way, the outward expression is simply an outpouring of an inward revelation. Focus on the heart and the hands will follow.