I’ve been participating in a conference this week where I’m wearing lots of hats: team organizer, accountant, logistical planner, transportation expert, even speaker.  But the one hat that I’ve come to despise is that of Slide Clicker.

If you go to a cutting edge church (I define that as anyone who no longer owns an “overhead projector”) you know the Slide Clicker.  He (or she) is the guy (or gal) that clicks the slides with the words for the worship songs (or choruses (or hymns)). (Insert another superfluous parenthetical statement here.)

This week I’ve been the Slide Clicker because no one else qualified for the job…I mean, was standing close by when the music started.  And now I have a whole new level of respect for the S.C.  I’ve decided that you can be a Worshiper that happens to click slides, or a Slide Clicker who happens to participate in worship, but you cannot under any circumstances be both.  Nope, two hands close to the keyboard (or if you’re lucky, a mouse) at all times: one to scroll, one to click.  There can be no hand-raising, no clapping to the beat, no audible affirmation that you listened to the message of the song and not the song itself (what the heck does that mean?).

And of course the natural enemy of the Song Clicker is easily identifiable: it’s that ne’er-do-well, incorrigible, unruly, baby-kicking personality known as the Worship Leader.  Here’s a field guide to his main sins:

The Off Roader: most Worship Leaders are Off Roaders, that’s a common fact.  Off Roaders will give you an order of worship, and then proceed to do everything but what’s on the order of worship.  They should just dispense with the formalities and call it a Suggestion of Worship That I’ll Completely Ignore.  Not that that’s happened to me.  This week.  Several times.

The Font Flyer: let’s be clear: 24 point font is a good font for putting songs on the screen.  It’s big enough that people can see it, not so big that you can only fit one word per line.  The Font Flyer comes in when a fast song has font so big that you have to jog in place just to keep up.  In the last session where I served as Slide Clicker, the song was very fast and very big, font-wise.  I was clicking every 2.3 seconds.  It’s like a pianist playing “Flight of the Bumblebee” with the sheet music written on postage stamps. Junk like that will make you have to ice down your clicking finger.

Chorus Fake Out: the CFO is a common malady of the Slide Clicker.  There you are, following along on screen, with a view of all the upcoming slides in front of you.  You’re heading straight for the chorus, when suddenly the Worship Leader says (usually with a single tear), “I feel like the Lord wants us to sing that last verse again.  This time, from your heart.”  (“Oh no you di’unt, Worship Leader.  I’ve got the right-mouse-button-click-thing going at a nice pace here.  No way you’re gonna throw a verse repeat in.” ) The CFO commonly leads to…

Power Point Power Play: this is where the Slide Clicker can spot a CFO Worship Leader a mile away (those guys have their own scent).  If the Slide Clicker is really good, he can pop the chorus up well before the Worship Leader has a chance to go back and repeat the previous verse.  Usually that pop up alone is enough to throw off the Worship Leader, and he’s forced to go with what’s on screen.  (Be careful using the PPPP move…in cases where the screen is behind the Worship Leader, or you have a Worship Leader who is prone to closing his eyes as the Spirit leads, this one can backfire.)

The Bridge Burner: a close cousin of the CFO, the Bridge Burner will take a well-known song with a well-known bridge and torch it.  The way this works is that the Slide Clicker knows a bridge is coming, so he fades the words on screen to black while the guitar solo works its magic.  But no sooner has the screen gone dark than Mr. Hair Product decides to come back with the third verse and sends the Slide Clicker scrambling.

The Matt Redman Effect: I blame the famous worship leader of my generation for this one.  When you’re the Slide Clicker, it’s all about the timing.  Forward the slide too soon, and people aren’t focused on what they’re singing now. Forward it too late, and the room goes quiet and some former choir members start mouthing “Watermelon, watermelon.”  The Matt Redman Effect – or MRE – forces the uninformed slide clicker to make a quick decision with an unfamiliar song.  Does this word “Me” really mean “Me”?  Or does it mean “Meeeeeeeeee-eeeeeeeeee”? In other words, is this a normal, one-syllable, partial-second “Me,” or is this a supercharged, multiple beat, several inhale “Me?”  Not knowing this leads to the most feared flaw of the Slide Clicker: “The Flinch.”

And that, my friends, are the six sins of the Worship Leader.  What did I miss?  What would you add to the list?

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