28 Ways to Create Great Segues: Segue #9
By Jon Nicol
28 Ways to Make Great Segues
Non-Musical Segues: #9 The Clap Offering
Over the last few sections of" 28 Ways," we were looking primarily at musical transitions. These next 6 non-musical segues are designed to either go from song to song; into a song from a non-music element; or out of a song to non-music element.
One of my drummers at my last church asked me why I always planned musical segues between songs. He had been to a large Vineyard church and commented how they end a song and just count off to the next. Having been to that church (and thoroughly enjoyed it), I knew that after most of the faster/bigger songs the congregation spontaneously applauds and cheers. That clap offering is the segue.
Applause is a natural occurrence in some churches; in other churches, it would precipitate the forced resignation of the worship pastor and the revocation of several memberships.
If you're somewhere in the middle where clapping is OK, but just not natural, here are steps to cultivate spontaneous, post-song clapping in worship:
- Teach that clapping is Biblical and that the applause isn't for the people on stage. This doesn't need its own sermon; it can be done in 90 seconds during a call to worship. Say something like this:
Psalm 47 says this:1 Clap your hands, all you nations;shout to God with cries of joy.2 How awesome is the LORD Most High,the great King over all the earth!
During our time of worshiping through music this morning, we can worship God through applauding for him for Him. We're not clapping for me or the musicians, or how great we just sang as a congregation. We are simply celebrating the Great King who has invited us into His presence.
- Prompt the congregation. During that same service, after a song where clapping would feel appropriate ("Softly and Tenderly" is probably not one of those songs), say to the congregation: "Let's applaud for the Lord."
You as the leader will set the tone: look up as you clap: God isn't exclusively "in the sky," but our gazing upwards is symbolic of His otherness, His transcendence and His kingly loftiness.
- Prepare your band members before the service. Make sure they aren't taking a posture of "receiving" applause. That will kill it quick. But have them follow your lead. It takes the focus off the music and band and puts it on the King.
- Repeat this encouragement at least once a service for a couple months. It'll take awhile for it to become a natural part of your worship gathering experience.
- Another way to encourage clap offerings is to "plant" clappers in the congregation. That sounds a little underhanded, but hang with me for a moment. At a previous church I served in, we were NOT a clapping church, unless someone mentioned The Ohio State Buckeyes. (That was probably part of the issue -- scarlet and gray idolatry.) There were a few people in my church that I knew wanted to clap, but didn't want to offend. I encouraged them to clap and affirmed that it was a good thing. Two or three pairs of hands clapping are often all that's needed to start a full applause.
Clapping, like any element in your worship service, can become an empty ritual if it loses its heart motivation. Don't just use clapping as a way to get from one song to the next. But if it is a way that your congregation worships, or has the potential to, by all means, the clap offering is a viable segue.
January 28, 2010Tweet
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