Have you ever had a conversation with someone that never looked you in the eye? Or, maybe, they had their eyes closed the whole time they were talking to you? Pretty frustrating, right? They look everywhere else but at you. It can make you think that they are not really interested in the conversation. That they would rather be anywhere else but with you, or they are distracted by something and you are not really important to them.
Now, think about your pastor or teacher. Do they get up and deliver their message and never look at the congregation? Do they speak with their eyes closed or just stare blankly at the back wall? I would guess that they do not. When trying to communicate your message it is important that you connect with the people you are communicating with, and one of the best ways to make sure everyone is engaged is by looking at them. You can tell when you are having a conversation with someone if they are engaged and connecting with you by the look in their eyes. There are university studies that suggest that up to 90% of our communication is non verbal. That means that most of what we say is with our face and our body language.
As worship leaders and communicators it is important that we make sure that we are connecting with the people we are leading. We need to be aware of where they are, if they are engaged and if what we are singing and saying is connecting with them. We can't do that if we are not looking at them or if our eyes are closed! I understand being caught up in a song or the worship experience and closing your eyes for a moment, but we should not spend the majority of our time not looking at the people we are leading. If we expect people to follow us we need to make sure they know that we are engaged, interested and aware of what is going on. We also need to be flexible enough to realize that if what we are singing or communicating isn't engaging that we can move on, or if the Spirit is moving and people are really connecting, we can stay in the moment a little while longer.
It may feel awkward at first to look at the people in the congregation, but I guarantee that when you consciously make an effort to do it, people will feel more connected...not only to you but to the worship experience and message.
Go ahead now...open up those peepers of yours! Look around and see what God is doing, how people are engaging and what is happening out there!