3 Ways to Beat Stage Fright

When I first started playing for worship, my best friend was a large plant on the end of the stage.

I loved it because I could hide behind it and play away without any attention. Nobody could see me and that was the point. 

I’ve never really liked the stage aspect of leading worship but for many of us, it comes with the territory. The sunday morning butterflies can become a barrier to engaging fully in worship and we don’t want that.

Here are 3 ways to help you overcome stage fright. 

Know your part

Being on stage is hard enough. Feeling unprepared or unsure of what you are supposed to play only adds to the anxiety. Practice your parts ahead of time so you know what you are going to play. Adding stress upon stress is a losing formula. If you're not sure where to look for help, I've got some ideas.

Know how to act 

If you’ve ever transferred schools, moved to a new town or visited a foreign country, you've quickly learned that there are unspoken rules and customs that everybody abides by. The stage is no different. There is a way to behave on stage and acting outside of that feels both uncomfortable to you and your congregation.

There are things that everybody does that just look “right”. Do those things! Be deliberate in your movements. Stay away from the microphone unless it’s time to sing in it. Closing your eyes is fine, but don’t forget to scan the congregation as well. After all, you’re not in your bedroom. You are worshipping together. Enjoy the fact you are playing with a band. Make eye contact with your drummer. Laugh with your keyboardist. There is joy in the presence of the Lord. Forcing yourself to loosen up and look around will help you realize there’s nothing to be afraid of. 

Know how others see you

The only one who’s really putting pressure on you is you. You’re not some untouchable rock star and no one expects you to be. The people in your congregation are your friends and family. They are rooting for you and grateful they have someone like you to lead them in worship. They aren’t scary so there’s no need to be afraid of them. I always have a few folks in my congregation that I look to for inspiration. They are always going for it and they remind me we are all in this together. 

Overcoming stage fright is really about normalizing something that feels foreign. The more you do something the less awkward it feels so the best thing you can do is just keep getting up there. There’s no pressure. It’s not about you anyway so sit back and enjoy the moment.

Jason Houtsma is the co-founder and guitar teacher at Worship Artistry, where he is helping musicians of every level answer the call to worship with passion and confidence. Jason has been leading worship and writing music since he was 15 years old and currently serves as Worship Pastor for Mosaic Church in Bellingham, WA. He is husband to Alli and father to Bjorn and Asher.

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