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How to Engage The Congregation In Worship

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Sometimes what we feel towards the Lord in worship isn't translated to our outward body language. Kim shares how we can encourage the congregation to connect with Jesus through worship postures that are genuine, inviting, and engaging.

What's In This Session?
  • Matching your body language to what is going on within (0.06)

  • Leading with your eyes open (2.30)

  • Smiling and engaging (3.48)

  • Being relaxed and inviting (4:17)

  • Trying things you've never tried before (4:58)

The Full Transcript
"Today I'd like to share with you a few things that have helped me in engaging the people that I'm leading in worship. When I first started leading worship, it wasn't the most comfortable thing to stand in a group of people and actually lead them. My body language actually wanted to, sort of, come in like this. So I had these tics, I suppose, you'd call them, where I would want to close my eyes, keep my hands closed, usually stationar,y stand in one position. And then when I would watch footage of myself leading worship, it didn't actually match up to what I was feeling inside. When it came to worshiping Jesus and being in his presence, that should be such a freeing experience, where we feel excitement, we feel joy, we're thankful to be liberated, having that sense of freedom. So that was really interesting for me. If you haven't ever just had someone lovingly capture you on film, maybe you should have someone do that for you the next time you lead worship or you're on the team. And it’s actually really interesting. I did that with my team for a lot of years. We’re not in a sense where it's like American Idol and we're voting you off the island or something like that, but I think we are our own worst critic and we're trying to balance that out here. But sometimes we can't actually see what we look like when we're leading worship, because we're leading right or when we're on our instrument playing, and it’s a real shock when you see yourself, maybe in a photo or on footage somewhere, and you're surprised how not engaging you are, that the reality of Jesus Christ setting you free from the inside looks like this. So on a Sunday morning, you know, we've got the bass player up there, and it's really engaging when the musicians are actually singing, isn't it, rather than just totally focused on what their part is. So even if they're not a vocalist, we encourage our musicians on the stage sing through the song. And one of the things that does is just helps loosen our body language to begin with, because we're not about performance but we are getting people into the reality of who Jesus is. So we do want what's in our hearts to actually be magnified and expressed on the outside, because God sees the heart but we see one anothe. So a few things just going down the line encouraging you to maybe open your eyes once in a while. Eyes are very engaging. When I'm doing this and I'm not looking at the person that I'm talking to and I'm staring off over to the side, it's communicating something that isn't I'm engaged with you. In the same token, staring down someone in the third row like I know your sins and you will worship the Lord. We don't want to be staring people down, we're you know, it's kind of scary. Wow I've worked with quite a few singers who have done this they don’t realize that their resting face is, when they're singing they've got quite a furrowed brow, they've got this going on, or they're really intense like this, so they look sort of scared. We’re just wanting to create an atmosphere where we're relaxed. So one of those things where opening of our eyes, looking around, not disengaging from who we’re worshiping, but just making sure that we're not the only one in the room worshiping. If there's anything that I can do to help somebody else encounter Jesus, I'm going to do that. Me, personally, so that just means opening my eyes to make sure like, hey you're welcome here as well. You might not have ever stepped into the building of a church before and worship Jesus, but I hope you feel welcome. So you can smile again. I don’t want to plaster on anything that's fake. I think that this should come from a place of genuine authenticity. But if I'm in the presence of Jesus, you can't help but smile, and one of the things that keeps us humble is thankfulness. If you're ever needing motivation on a Sunday morning to help engage the congregation, just think of ten things that you're thankful for, Jesus for, okay. Another couple of things, just even vocally, we talk about just relaxing our shoulders. Roll your shoulders back, you know just have a relaxed stare, maybe move your feet a little bit. I’m not talking about pacing and doing all this stuff, but do something that helps you relax, and that communicates to the people that you’re leading, “Hey, let's engage, let's worship. There's some movement this is, an active thing. We are worshiping. You know, Psalm 150 says, ‘Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.’ And you know, if you’re leading a group, the congregation, they’ve got breath in them.” The Bible mandates it, that He wants they praise, and we want to engage them in that. So you know, if this is where you're comfortable raising your hands, I want to encourage you, maybe in your own worship time, try lifting your hands a little bit higher. if you're used to keeping your eyes shut really tight, maybe just stop opening them every 10 seconds and just trying that feeling. If you're standing still, you find yourself quite stagnant, maybe just try a little knee bend, little feet moving, and you know what I’m talking about. Just get relaxed and help engage people by letting your body language feel inviting, and relaxed. I hope this was helpful in engaging the people that you're leading."