By nature, filmmaking is a fairly behind-the-scenes endeavor. Most film producers I know actually go to great lengths to stay out of the camera’s eye. Add to that the servant’s attitude that most of us in ministry strive to maintain, and you have a recipe for someone with a healthy disdain for the spotlight.
Which would explain why so many of us feel uncomfortable when people applaud films during a worship experience. It’s almost as though we’ve done something wrong, something manipulative. But there are actually very good reasons that a congregation would applaud a film in worship. Let’s explore a few of them together…
Congregations Applaud to Affirm the Subject of a Testimony
A powerful life-change narrative tells the story of someone who went on an extraordinary journey. They are stories of restoration, of redemption, of healing, and of resurrection. By experiencing these stories we share that journey and the catharsis. The stories often have very low valleys, and it take tremendous courage and grace to share them. Congregations will often express their gratitude and affirmation of those sharing these stories by applauding.
Congregations Applaud to Express Joy at Seeing God at Work
Our God is still a God of miracles, and He’s still at work in our world today. Powerful stories of life-change and impact remind us that we’re not alone, that He’s still on the throne, and the He cares for each one of us. A film that powerfully confirms this hits a nerve deep in the center of our soul, and the way we affirm that moment is to applaud what God is still doing in our world.
Congregations Applaud to Affirm the Impact of a Church
The work of a church often requires significant investment of time, energy, emotion and resources. Films help a congregation realize that those investments really are building God’s Kingdom. Sometimes when congregations applaud it’s to reaffirm their excitement and commitment to the body God has called them to be a part of.
Film can be a powerful tool to rekindle and reinforce the faith life of a congregation. Far from being something that makes us uncomfortable, it might be time for us to rededicate ourselves to telling the most powerful stories we possibly can. Stories that people want to applaud.
So what’s your perspective on worship films being applauded? Is that something that regularly happens in your faith community? Leave a comment below and let’s talk it over…