How to Take the Stage and Lead Worship with Confidence

How to Take the Stage and Lead Worship with Confidence by Jordan Holt

I’m a rather classic perfectionist. I want to give my best and never let people down, and as a result, I hate failing. Unfortunately, the hard reality is that I can never escape failure, no matter how good I get at my craft. Professionals drop the ball more often than you may notice. 

A couple of years ago, Kari and Cody filled in one day for Jesus Culture on one of the largest Christian tours. We were rather exhausted and delirious from traveling and Kari decided to change the key to one of her biggest songs up half a step. I was so used to playing it in the normal key that I hit a massive open major chord a half step flat to end the song – as many of my peers listened side stage standing right next to my amps. Those are the days that you want to quit music. 

In order to be successful, I’ve had to learn how to continue standing tall in the face of these defeating moments. It’s the only way to sound truly great. If I had let that experience affect me the next time I got on stage, every note would sound weak and “unsure.” That’s what really affects tone.

From my perspective, confidence comes from four main areas:

Gaining Experience

This is the first and most obvious building block to confidence. If you practice and get better at your instrument (incredibly easy with Worship Online’s tutorials), you’re able to be more relaxed and focused on what matters most. When you’re less-practiced, it’s much easier to get into a “I may mess up” mindset. Many times, this is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Experience also teaches you that when you do mess up or are in a challenging situation, it’s not the end of the world. You survive and actually become a better musician because of it.

Letting go of Comparison

One very interesting trend that I’ve found in my professional journey is that many of the most experienced producers, songwriters, musicians,  and artists are also some of the most insecure. Why is that? Good ole comparison. When you level up there always seems to be someone right next to you who’s just slightly better, or at least getting more attention. Everything is in the limelight.

An easy way to flip comparison on its head is to realize that we all stumble. Professionals mess up all the time, probably aren’t as good as you think they are and are still developing themselves. I’ve heard some of the best musicians slip-up pretty badly on the MultiTracks stems I’ve listened to. I even have a rather big one that somehow got into the first Belonging record. 

When we slip into comparison we’re usually comparing the worst about ourselves to someone else’s best performance (or how they portray themselves on Instagram). That’s the fastest way to stunt growth in any area of your life.

Healthy Humility

We all probably know that one person who thinks they’ve “reached the top” and feel that they are ready to take on anything. I talked to someone recently that explained that they didn’t feel like they had much more to learn, yet the quality of their performance was lacking in many areas. This tends to be more pride than confidence.

When you are aware of the fact that God gave you the gift you have, then you have no choice but to continue to develop it. Understanding the source of your gift also helps you place confidence in God helping you along the way. It’s a good practice to always center your heart around God flowing through the gift He has given you before going on stage.

Finding Identity in God    

The most important point is this: you’ll never be truly confident if you place your value in the opinions of people around you.

When your identity is in God, you’re not taking the stage for validation from man. When your identity is in your gifting and what people think of you, every little mistake will wreck you. 

We also sometimes think that we are more righteous because we’re hard on ourselves after a certain performance. God’s not handing out any awards for that. He’s probably more pleased with the person who messed up terribly and yet confidently marched forward rather than the person who hit every note perfectly.

If you truly know God’s heart, then you know that He is proud of you whether you mess up or play the best that you ever have. 

What are some other ways you have gained confidence for playing on stage? Let us know in the comments below!

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