Posted by Craig Borlase on 15 August 2014

Maybe you love it when the lights drop, the screens light up and some emotive music starts to whisper its way through the PA. As the seconds slip by you love the way that the attention of everyone in the venue is locked onto the screen, their anticipation increasing in step with the intensity of the music. By the time the countdown reaches the final ten seconds, you love the way that everyone’s engaged and eager to go. And once you’ve all hit zero, it feels like it’s almost impossible to contain the energy and anticipation in the room.

Or maybe you see the other side. When church services start with a sixty second countdown you find your mind wandering. Maybe you feel a little manipulated, like a tv studio audience being warmed up for the main act. Maybe you feel put off by how much of a performance it all feels like. Or maybe you just feel like a chicken kiev in a microwave, waiting until the clock hits zero and you’re deemed ready to go.

Away from the edges of the argument we find some other responses. For some leaders, having a countdown clock is a decent way to grab the attention of everyone in the room and send them a clear message that we’re all gathered to worship. For others it feels a little limiting, as if by their nature people expect the countdown clock to segue into a serious amped up worship set.

Those in the congregation can be equally split between affection and apathy. For some it is a good time to prepare for what’s coming next, to get your heart in gear and your head in the right place. Others dislike feeling manipulated or pressured into things. Some feel as thought they’re simply not creative enough and want churches to go further than slapping a few fancy graphics and a verse or two up on the screen. Some just want a bit of silence to start things off.

So what about you? Do you like them? What’s the best way you’ve seen them used? And if you’ve abandoned them altogether, what have you replaced them with? 

 

Editor's note: By the way, an alternative to the standard countdown clock is the iWorship service starter. Service Starters from Integrity's iWorship product line prepare your church for worship with a combination of scripture, inspirational thoughts and dynamic graphics, brought to life with powerful worship songs. Find all titles at WorshipHouseMedia.com

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