I See The Resemblance – Stolen Wisdom – @OnStageSuccess

ResemblanceTom Jackson of @OnStageSuccess and Expressive Worship is the wise person I’ve decided to steal a post from this week.  In fact, this is not the first post I have ‘stolen’ from Tom, and surely not the last.  If you are any type of person who does anything on stage – whether acting, speaking, singing, playing music, or performing art – you absolutely need to know and follow Tom Jackson.  He is undeniably the expert when it comes to true success on stage.

Disclaimer: For those of you that think I am actually “stealing” something from these people, let me clarify; I am not. In fact, re-posting someone else’s content, while giving them full credit, is actually beneficial and complementary to them.

This post specifically talks about the similarities between different people, especially worshipers and entertainers.  Tom paints an interesting correlation between a worship leader and a performer.

Without further ado, here is Tom:

Whether I’m in Europe (as I am this month), or in Canada (as I will be next month), or in the USA, I find that there are similarities between musicians, singers, artists and bands everywhere!

I’m sure you think I’m talking about people being people – making mistakes, working through temptations, trying their best to do their best – and it’s true, we’re all alike that way.

Or maybe you think I’m talking about all of us being created by God and gifted to varying degrees in music and creativity. And that’s true, too.

But what I really mean is this: no matter what music genre these artists all over the world are in (hard rock, hip-hop, pop, country, bluegrass, folk music, Christian/Gospel, or praise teams) – they all have similarities!

Now, in the different genres we may have different words for the same concepts. For instance, with praise teams in church, we don’t use the word “stage,” we use the word “platform.” In church, we don’t have a “front man,” we have a “worship leader.” And we don’t “perform,” we “minister.”

All artists want to be “spontaneous,” but Christian artists want to be “led by the Spirit.” And in a worship service there’s no “audience,” but there is a “congregation.”

Well, maybe there are a few subtle differences. :smile:

But conceptually we need to do the same thing. Whether it’s a concert, a club, or a church, people are coming for the same things: to be captured and engaged, to experience moments, and to be changed.

Here’s another similarity… praise and worship teams have a lot of the same problems as other artists. Instead of creating moments, we play songs and hope something happens!

We often have a lack of authority, or we suffer from stage fright and feelings of inadequacy. We can give a lot of misdirection on the platform (visually and musically). And for many of us, our songs look the same even though they don’t sound the same.

Most of all, many of us definitely end up “winging it” quite a bit of the time.

I understand that there are a number of differences, too, between all these musicians and their genres. In fact, next week I’ll let you know 7 differences I can think of between a praise team and any other band.

But in the meantime, I hope you recognize that you also have many of the same goals as other artists, as well as many of the same obstacles. And learning the skills and techniques necessary to capture and engage your audience (whoops!) – I mean “congregation”… create special moments for them, and to help them experience a change in their lives is an important thing to do!

To many worship leaders and worship band members stress the importance of not performing on stage, and keeping a humble heart, and not playing with your ego.  Although those are important things to be aware of, I think our mindsets need to change a little.  We need to redefine what worship and performance mean to us.  We need to lay out how they are different, and how they are the same.  When we do that, we can have a much better understanding of how we need to improve our worship and our performance, in both settings!

What do you think about mixing worship and performance together?


  1. Michael on February 15, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    I was a bit skeptical, but then experienced a Tom Jackson workshop where he turned a very average, boring worship band into worship ‘rock stars’ in 45 minutes. In the end it was not manufactured, it was just getting the team to be comfortable worshiping and really leading worship instead standing still and waiting for something to happen.

    • Samuel John Hodgett on February 16, 2012 at 9:25 AM

      Totally Michael. I felt the same way at first, except I attended one of his ‘secular’ events. But since then, and reading his blogs, it’s helped me to realize how much we all need a little help with our stage presence! And, you’re a fool if you think it doesn’t help in worship!

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