If your church uses confidence monitors, you are likely aware of many of the benefits they offer. If not, you may be wondering why your church needs to use confidence monitors in the first place. You will find that there are many great reasons to incorporate this low-maintenance technology into your services. For any church leader, the times we gather together are important, meaningful and precious. We want our people to fully engage with God and with one another, and it is our goal as leaders to be fully prepared and to lead our congregations well.
It’s Not Just for the Worship Pastor
When we think of confidence monitors in church, the first thing that comes to mind is likely the music and the worship team. Are monitors just a way to be lazy and not learn the songs? Not at all: the monitors only supplement what the team already knows.
It is the worship leader who will receive the most obvious benefit from using a confidence monitor, but it is also extraordinarily beneficial for the preaching pastor, welcome pastor, or anyone presenting in any way from the platform. As we work to lead well, confidence monitors are an invaluable tool for our worship services.
A confidence monitor is basically a screen that can be located on the platform, or anywhere in the room that faces leaders on the platform. For a worship leader this will show lyrics, prompts and stage directions for the service, and for other speakers this can give an outline and notes to follow. It can be designed for leaders to see what the congregation is seeing on the main screens, or be adjusted to see notes and prompts beneficial to the speaker. This allows a great degree of freedom and, as the name suggests, confidence to lead effectively and clearly.
Engagement with the Congregation
One of the most basic rules of communication is eye contact. Whether it is a personal conversation or presenting in front of a group, it is difficult to truly engage on any level when we fail to make eye contact. The first benefit of a confidence monitor is that it encourages a platform speaker or worship leader to look up and towards the congregation as opposed to being buried in a folder, notes, or sheet music.
As worship leaders, it is our primary responsibility to lead others into worship, and that is best done when we are looking up and out towards those we are leading, and not down at notes, chords and lyrics. Regardless of where the monitor is in the room, it will cause us to look up and outward to focus on the people instead of down and inward focused on the music.
Engagement in Worship
As a worship leader, have you ever caught yourself disengaging from worship because you forgot the next line, whether to repeat a chorus, or wondering if your team is all together? If you’ve been there, you know it is disengaging and discouraging to ‘get lost’ in the song and not remember where you are going! There is nothing as painful as that frantic moment where you are guessing where things are going next and whether you will be in the right spot. Trying to remember if there is a page turn or a repeat can be a distraction not just to the leader but to all in the room. Confidence monitors are a cure for this, as they keep everyone on the same page and allow everyone the proper cues to make sure the team is together and in the same place as the congregation.
Focus on Worship and Musicianship Instead of Music
Music is a major component of worship, and as worship musicians, we strive to truly and genuinely engage in worship personally while leading others to engage in worship corporately. No worship musician wants to be ‘the star of the show’. In fact, many of us work diligently to avoid a situation where people are just watching us perform. Our desire is to worship our Lord in a way that encourages others to worship Him also.
When we are working strictly off of sheet music, we tend to engage fully in the paper in front of us, and lose the ability to engage with God and others through the medium of music. Confidence monitors give us the ability to know the music without staring into the music, and to focus our hearts and minds on worship through music. It allows us to use our musical abilities to lead and to worship, not just to play notes and sing lyrics.
Flexibility and Versatility
Some may be wary of confidence monitors in that they feel like they will be ‘tied down’ to the monitor and lose the ability to be flexible in worship. However, this can be quickly and easily addressed in the planning and rehearsal process. Extended worship times, arrangements and adaptations can be added before the service, and give the team confidence and organization that what they see on screen is what was planned ahead of time.
Monitors also have any adaptable features, such as displaying current lyrics, prompting upcoming lyrics, and additional ‘stage notes’. These stage notes can be used to designate anything you would put on paper: who is leading out vocally, when to add harmonies, noting volume levels, chords and key changes, or any prompts that are helpful for the worship team that are not needed on the main screens. This saves time for the worship planner and allows worship teams the confidence they need to know that they will see the cues exactly when they need them and know exactly where the song is going. This tool effectively improves the ‘flow’ of worship, and keeps the worship team completely engaged in all the right ways.
These are just some of the reasons to incorporate confidence monitors into your worship services. They are an easy tool to use, and will give you the ability to lead your people well.