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Do You Have Stage(d) Presence?

Do You Have Stage(d) Presence?

By Julie Terwilliger on April 27, 2012

What do you think of when you hear the term ‘stage presence’? Mixed feelings about just the very phrase itself? I know I know, it seems surfacey...and yes, I know I know that surfacey isn’t even a word because the squiggly little red line told me so.

I stumbled upon hearing God’s heart on the matter through the following instance:

My colleague & I were going to watch a DVD on the subject. A boring DVD. A very expensive, boring DVD. And then we were going to show it to our team for instruction, he made a copy for me which I promptly lost, then he lost his original copy, hmm..mysterious...so I had to actually seek God and see what He has to say about it all, perhaps this was what He wanted all along?

I shall start out with a few stage presence stereotypes that we are all familiar with & if some are humble enough to admit, also guilty of (please note, this particular section was not from the Lord, and I admit my guilt on several of these!):

  • Nervous Nancy: white knuckles gripping the microphone, you end up being so distracted by how nervous she is; wondering if she is going to pass out, heck- I’ve even prayed for them while they were up there “Lord please let ____ not puke on me, oh & give them strength to make it thru this song!”
  • Rock Star: basically if the WL looks & acts like he’s a part of U2 and not leading people into God’s presence.
  • Diva: this is the counterpart of the ‘Rockstar’, very Broadway theatrical, dramatic, and looks like a Spice Girl.
  • Ugly Face: scrunching of face as if in pain, ‘I’m so holy it hurts!’
  • Nauseous: holding stomach frequently.
  • Narcolepsy: eyes closed constantly as if one were sleeping through the set.
  • Cheerleader: the over happy perma grin “if I don’t smile, I will hear it from my pastor” face.

1.  Stage presence vs performance

  • Performance is what you do
  • Presence is who you are

Actors will immerse themselves in research for a role so that they nearly become who they are acting or pretending to be for a more believable performance.

How much more, if we ‘practice His presence’ will our stage presence flow naturally without trying to be or act or look a certain way.

2.  Drop the act

  • What we want to do is move away from theatrics & performance and actually project a genuine presence that is authentic & inviting for others to worship.
  • Presence is not something you conjure up, it’s who you are.

Being immersed in His presence is where our stage presence flows out of.

“They look to Him and their faces were radiant” ~ Psalm 34:5

3.  His presence becomes your presence

I was recently in a class taught by Bob Hamp and he had asked, “What is the opposite of worship?” And, of course in my head I’m like “Devil worship!” But his answer took me by surprise and was something very profound that has revolutionized some of my thoughts! “The opposite of worship is self-consciousness.”

  1. The less you are aware of yourself, the more aware you are of Jesus.
  2. Self awareness is the opposite of worship

A few practical things to help us become less aware of ourselves:

  • The more comfortable we are, the less distracted we are. So get comfy! If it means having a mic stand or not, wearing comfortable clothing, ladies this means wearing something that you don’t have to ‘think about’ or be conscience about.
  • Stand firmly planted feet hip width apart without locking your knees, this is what wedding planners tell the wedding party, it helps you not appear and feel stiff or awkward. Locking your knees cuts off circulation and can make you feel lightheaded which can lead to nervousness paired with an unstable footing could lead to mega self-awareness!
  • Worship wherever you are, wherever you go, whatever you do.
  • Don’t compare yourself to the next person or try to be them.
  • Don’t worry about screwing up or forgetting the words, YOU WILL STILL LIVE if that happens.
  • Please do not ‘practice’ in the mirror unless you are going to be on American Idol or Broadway. However, watching a video of your team with your team periodically can be a beneficial thing to work out distractions etc...

Your stage presence is perfected when it becomes about His presence and not ours.

I really wish we could have our singers & band all off to the sides and have the center of the stage clear because it is Jesus who is really the focus, the ‘center stage’…the main event. Keep the main thing the main thing: JESUS.

Now, I wonder where HE hid our DVD’s? : )

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Julie Terwilliger

Julie Terwilliger

Julie is a business owner, designer, worship leader, and iPhoneographer. She loves Jesus, elevating others, laughing & living life to the fullest with her husband & son in Michigan.