Worship Applause Sign

It’s been said that worship is 10% what you say, and 90% body language. Actually, that has been said a total of never times, but I’d like to say it here just for the sake of this post.

I was talking today with the rest of the staff at my church about the idea of not manipulating people to worship, and how instead we want to leave that up to God and let His Spirit work while we do our best to not get in His way. That said, a brilliant idea was brought up- an idea so brilliant that I had to share.

Are you ready for this?

A church applause sign!

I know, right? Why didn’t I think of that!?

This sign not only lets people know when to “give God a clap offering,” but also gives new and old church-goers alike the ability to know when to give a powerful “amen,” or when to laugh at the guest speaker’s jokes.

So I thought I’d have a little brainstorm sesh and come up with some other possible instructions the sign could give… here goes:

“Worship harder”

Sure, there is no official system of measurement for worship (YET!),  but who’s to say we can’t start one? This command would typically be used on the bridge of most Hillsong songs somewhere between the “Whoa-oh-oh’s” and the guitar solo.

“Nod your head and say ‘Mmm’”

This one is usually appropriate when the Pastor says something that is Tweet-worthy, and/or you catch him looking your way and want to make sure he knows you think his sermons are powerful like Chuck Spurgeon.

“Give a standing O”

Save this one for Easter, Christmas, and baby dedications. It’s a great way to let visitors know your church knows how to party, and that you believe strongly in stuff.

“Pump your fist”

Be careful to use this one in moderation. Nothing can throw off your worship mojo like an awkwardly placed fist pump. Recommended usages of this command include songs that feature lots of U2-like guitars, extended drum solos, and anything you could choreograph a karate kick to.

So before you go out and build one yourself, help me come up with some more commands for our worship applause sign…

What are some other commands that would help church-goers be more awesome?

  • http://billgrandi.com/ Bill (cycleguy)

    how about “Raise Your Hands” and “Lower Your Hands”? I understand the raising of hands to be in praise of God’s character and glory. People raise their hands at the oddest moments. We can stop that with these signs.

    • http://thebeardedidealist.com/ Stephen Haggerty

      AND if we had several signs with these prompts, we could potentially start a wave if our timing was right…

      • http://billgrandi.com/ Bill (cycleguy)

        Your suggestion reminds me of the small wave in Field of Dreams. We could have one right there in a worship service. Very cool idea Stephen.

  • http://www.jasonvana.com Jason Vana

    You need the reverently sit down and bury your face in your hands because God is hitting you hard in worship today sign. Might want to shorten that up though.

    • http://thebeardedidealist.com/ Stephen Haggerty

      Nice! I think that’s technically called a “worship face-palm.”

  • http://www.robshep.com Rob Shepherd

    The karate kick line made me chuckle out loud. How about a shhhh sign that shushes loud babies or people who open candy wrappers for days while the pastor is preaching.

    • http://thebeardedidealist.com/ Stephen Haggerty

      You just let us know when you’re ready for some kicks and we’re on it!
      A shhh sign would be great- until someone events those noise-free candy wrappers you’ve talked about!

  • http://dancarman.blogspot.com/ Daniel Carman

    Sesh? Loved it and will use it (although I will provide a proper citation so that you get full credit). This made me think of this past Sunday when you ordered the room to give high fives to each other. Some old dude in front of me turned around and said, “Give me some.” My reply, “I don’t think so.” He didn’t laugh, but my daughter did. I shan’t be manipulated! Vive la guerre!

    • http://thebeardedidealist.com/ Stephen Haggerty

      You crack me up…
      1) Oh, I wrestled with “Sesh.” Sure it’s not a “real word,” but the wannabe surfer-dude in me just wouldn’t let it go.
      2) The high fives comment was hilarious on multiple counts, namely the old guy’s attempt and your complete denial. I have to respect that.

  • Phil

    Similar to Jason V, bow down sign.

    I find that everyone gets out of their seats and raises their hands in songs that mentions raising of hands. “The Stand” is a good example.
    “I’ll stand with arms high and heart abandoned”
    Gets’em every time.

    • http://thebeardedidealist.com/ Stephen Haggerty

      Good call, Phil! These types of songs pretty much serve as worship applause signs. I remember back in high school when we used to sing “I stand in awe of You…” you better hope you weren’t sittin’ at the end of that song or you’d be subject to the scorn of God… Watch out, non-literal-worship-lyric-interpreters!

      • Phil

        I don’t sit during worship to avoid the wrath of God in these moments. Man I re-read this and laughed again. Good stuff as always.

        • http://thebeardedidealist.com/ Stephen Haggerty

          :) Thanks a lot, man.

  • Ricky Anderson

    There was a guy at a retreat I went to that would spend every song on his face, right by the stage.

    You could put ‘Face Time With God’ on the sign.

    • http://thebeardedidealist.com/ Stephen Haggerty

      You, my friend, have a gift. You may have just written the title of our next series. Just kidding unless it happens in which case I’m totally serious.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jebatthebeach Joan Penn-Bastian

    Don’t sing louder than the Worship Leader, especially if you cannot sing! The sign might say, “Inside Voice”.

    • http://thebeardedidealist.com/ Stephen Haggerty

      :) That’s funny, JJ. I think we should start a spin-off of the show “The Voice” and call it “The Inside Voice,” where contestants who can’t sing are only allowed to sing in hushed tones. Could be epic.

      • http://www.nadinewouldsay.com/ Nadine S.

        Or the people who can’t sing all face a different direction.

    • http://www.nadinewouldsay.com/ Nadine S.

      Good option! Haha

  • Amber Amezcua

    Raise the Roof sign, especially when we get our praise on. I’ve noticed we have a bucket of flags at our church. Maybe we could have a sign that says “We Surrender”. When I lead worship I wish I had a sign that said, “No Jingling for Jesus.” that way it would keep people from bringing their tambourines. Love this post.

    • http://thebeardedidealist.com/ Stephen Haggerty

      :) Great stuff, Amber! We must end the jingling- sorry tambourinests!
      I have to give Nancy the props for this post, she brought up the sign idea.

  • http://twitter.com/clscholes Conor Scholes

    Maybe the “delayed stand up” sign…so that we have a smattering of people stand up, followed by the thundering horde of people who were waiting for someone to do it?

    • http://thebeardedidealist.com/ Stephen Haggerty

      PERfect!! Nothing is more dramatic than a thundering horde of delayed stand-uppers.

  • Jennwith2ns

    Clap on 2 an 4, whiteys.

    (Did I just say that?)

    • http://rebootingworship.com/ Jamie Kocur


    • http://thebeardedidealist.com/ Stephen Haggerty

      :) Not gonna argue with that.

  • http://twitter.com/DA_Broughton D.A. Broughton

    Worship mojo. Love it.

    We need something to keep the ‘s’s tight, when they end a line in a song. Otherwise it sounds like a bunch of snakes got loose in the service. And snake-handling isn’t on until next week’s service.

    • http://thebeardedidealist.com/ Stephen Haggerty

      Ha, yeah they save that more for the mountain regions… the long S’s, of course. ;)

  • http://www.nadinewouldsay.com/ Nadine S.

    This is awesome. I must say, my least favourite moment in a worship setting is when I’m told to clap – it makes me cringe and resist! But maybe a sign would work better ;)

    • http://thebeardedidealist.com/ Stephen Haggerty

      Nadine: I can feel your pain. But the sign would definitely take thought out of it and hence much of the pain.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DonnieDCollins Donnie Collins

    Don’t forget the, “Hold your hands up while your head is down with eyes closed and slowly rock back and forth,” sign…but that would throw the whole thing off…. How would they know to look up or put their hands down if their eyes are closed…. Im confused now.

    • http://thebeardedidealist.com/ Stephen Haggerty

      They would need a shot clock, Donnie. The command would simply have the addendum, “…for 30 seconds” on the end, and the worship leader would count down from 3 as the clock ticks down. Solved. :) Great addition!

  • http://bickleyhouse.wordpress.com/ Jeff Bickley

    “Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!” Oh, wait…that’s a band, isn’t it? I love the idea of stopping the manipulation. I purposefully refuse to raise my hand when our pastor asks us to raise our hands if we want to (insert spiritual thing here). We went through a phase for a couple of weeks where his sole intent was to have the entire congregation kneeling at the front of the stage. Fortunately, he got over that. I think someone may have mentioned to him that it seemed like manipulation. We also hear “Give God the hand he deserves” at least twice per worship service.

    Don’t get me wrong…we love our church, and I love my pastor. But I detest spiritual manipulation, and I will speak up about it. I’m evil that way.

    Thanks, O Bearded One!

    • http://thebeardedidealist.com/ Stephen Haggerty

      This sort of logic has to stay quiet during the marketing phase of the worship applause sign- K???! ;)

      • http://bickleyhouse.wordpress.com/ Jeff Bickley

        You got it. :-)

  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

    You could just flash up pre-written tweets on the screen, all less than 140 characters and ready to go!
    Also, as a member of the band in our contemporary service, I think an appropriate sign would be STOP CLAPPING. Seriously. I don’t mind if the crowd collectively has rhythm, but I have to meet one. It’s awkward when they’re trying their hardest to worship but you’re trying your hardest to play in rhythm despite them.

    • http://thebeardedidealist.com/ Stephen Haggerty

      HA… That is indeed a challenge like no other. A “Stop Clapping” prompt is a must, maybe with the addition of, “Seriously, white boy? Not even close…”

  • http://thomasmarkzuniga.com/ TMZ

    A stellar Stuff Christians Like worthy post, right there. A sign with clapping directions would be legitimately helpful. I always feel torn when half the building is all about the clapping and the other half wants nothing of it. If we could all get on the same clapping or no clapping page, I’d be grateful.

  • http://www.ramblingbarba.com Ken Hagerman

    How about a “Raise your cellphone as a lighter salute” sign. During those quiet times, especially at night service this could be very effective. Good stuff, Stephen.

  • http://randomlychad.com Chad Jones


    Put a sign over the door of the Overflow Room saying:

    “Joyful Noises Happen Here”

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