I Lift My Eyes Up … not in the Psalm 121 kind of way …

Andrew Stanley —  December 13, 2012 — 3 Comments

I Lift My Eyes Up

We interrupt this current series to bring you a crucial piece of information …

Think about an in-person conversation that you had with someone today. Not about what was said, but about what was done. Or, if you haven’t seen anyone yet today, stop reading this point, go find someone, have a conversation about the weather, and come back to finish reading this post. 

It’s amazing how much of the tone of a conversation is determined not just by voice, but by body language and facial expression — most importantly, the eyes. Have you ever had an in-person conversation with someone where no eye contact was made? It was probably an awkward moment for at least one of you.

We all know that eye contact is important in communication, right?

Set the topic of eye contact aside for a minute, and let’s talk about music stands. It’s a stand that holds your music. Without it, you don’t know your music, right? I hope you disagree. Our goal should be to have no music stands at all. To that you say, “Andrew, I see you using a music stand almost every week!” I know, I’m guilty and am speaking to myself here too. But, there’s a difference between having a stand up there to know your music and having a stand up there for a quick reference check.

Here’s a reality check for each of us — If you walk on stage and need to stare at your music stand to know what’s coming next, you’re not prepared to lead.  Do everything you possibly can to learn your music as best you can — don’t distract others by being distracted by your stand.

Now, I know that the issue for 99.9% of us isn’t that we don’t take the time to practice before Sunday.  But, let’s call it like it is, my music stand in front of me on the stage is a security blanket.  Can you relate?  Have you ever just tried to go a Sunday without a stand?  If you’re not used to it, it can be terrifying. You might even feel naked — “What am I supposed to hide behind now?!”.

Try taking it away sometime.  It’ll feel good carrying the stand that was brought to you back to where it came from. What’s the worst that could happen?  I guess you could play an entire set in the wrong key, or you might have to make up your own verses to some songs because you forgot the words — and all of that without having anything to hide behind anymore … I guess that would be bad.

But, I’m pretty sure that for all of us, a little bit of practice here and there might limit our mistakes down to a few. And the more we do it, the more comfortable we will get. And the more comfortable we get, the less mistakes we’ll make. And the less mistakes we make, the less distracting we become. And the less distracting we become, the better leaders we are.

With our music stands gone (or when we’re looking at them less), we’re then able to look up and make eye contact with the people we’re leading. The most engaging leaders are the ones that are making the most connections with the crowd.

Try it out — let us know what your experience was like.

Andrew Stanley


3 responses to I Lift My Eyes Up … not in the Psalm 121 kind of way …

  1. I would appreciate your views on the “eyes rolled up toward heaven” scenario. I know many sites have bright spotlights so eye contact (at least for those on the platform) may be impossible. I still think folk like to see you looking their way, not in the prayer closet with Jesus….

    • Thanks for your comment! I think we’re saying the same thing. You’re right, the spotlights certainly do make the eye contact difficult, but I wouldn’t say impossible. If you’re still unable to catch the eye of someone after your eyes adjust to the light, the house might be a little dark. We also need to keep in mind that it’ll be easier to make an intentional eye connection with someone who is 20 feet away from you as opposed to someone who might be 120 feet away from you. Getting the eyes up from the music stands and opening them from our “eyes rolled up toward heaven” moment are one in the same thing. The more we can do to include people into what we’re doing by actually looking at them, the better!

  2. Agree with engaging the people. Eye contact is respectful, meaningful, and the best communicators in music are as expressive with their eyes as the do with their voices and instruments. R.L.

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