Some people say that I seem really inhibited in leading worship. How can I overcome this?
I will offer some thoughts on the how-to-overcome-this in a moment, but first let me preface those ideas with an important comment: As much as possible, don’t allow others to dictate how you should act or not act. You shouldn’t attempt to fit into someone else’s image of a worship leader. Instead, simply be yourself. Long-term people will recognize the difference between what is genuine and what is contrived or produced for the sake of the onlookers.
One of the main reasons that people feel somewhat inhibited while leading worship is that much of what is done is unnatural to them. The religious background I came out of taught me to be very inhibited concerning demonstrative praise and worship. Singing, kneeling, sitting or standing had to be done at just the right time. So when I first started leading worship I wasn’t certain that I believed, at least to the point of exemplifying it, what I saw in the Word of God about freedom in praise and worship. I saw celebrating, dancing, shouting and all sorts of other expressions of worship. These were all new, and more than a little scary to me. It took time in the Word (and time watching other people) to help rid myself of wrong ideas and beliefs about acceptable ways to praise and worship the Lord. You need to see it in the Word, believe it in your heart, and then, finally, step out and do it. For these expressions to be a natural part of leading worship they must become a natural part of life. It is difficult to lead others in an area which is unfamiliar to you.
Those things which we do in public should simply be an extension of what we do our private times with the Lord. Often I have found myself shouting to the Lord with a voice of triumph or kneeling before the Lord in my personal prayer times. I wasn’t doing it because I was a part of a worship team or because people were watching. It was the genuine expression of my heart at that moment to the Lord.
The more we do anything the more comfortable we become with it, whether alone or in front of others. Maintain a regular worship time with the Lord on an individual basis. This will help you grow out of your inhibitions and into honest expressions of praise and worship.
Lack of preparation can also cause people to seem inhibited. You will have more freedom in praise and worship if you go in with a plan of what to do. Know where you are going and you will be much more at ease while you are leading.
Finally, be yourself. Don’t try to put on a show. Just be you. Worshipers don’t want a show, they want to worship. Ask God to work in you those qualities that He wants there. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).