I have mentioned in the past that timing is critical when it comes to accompanying congregational music. Bad timing is the biggest reason why a particular song might not be working in a live setting. Bad timing separates beginners from seasoned artists.
One of the first things I look for in any song that I play is the time signature and the tempo. I am also a foot tapper. But the thing is, I do more than tap my foot to keep myself in time and in the groove. If I am playing in 2/4 or 4/4; I will tap my foot either “forward, back, back, back or forward, back, forward, back.” Literally, my foot not only taps in time but it also moves forward or backward depending on the time signature. This helps me to keep the groove. For ¾ or 6/8 time, I will tap “forward, back, back, forward, back, back.” When my foot is moving forward – I emphasize the beat, when it is going back I do not emphasize. It’s like a clock. Sometimes while practicing at home I will even place a tambourine on the floor in the forward position so that my foot plays the percussion on the emphasized beats.
This trick may or may not work for you but the point is that you need to find something to keep you in the groove. Your band and the congregation will be appreciative if you do.