To Click Or Not To Click :: Using Click Tracks In Worship

I entered fulltime worship ministry in 1993. Yeah, even though I still look so young (ha), this September I will celebrate 20 years in ministry. That absolutely blows my mind. What an adventure it has been, and I thank God that in spite of my flaws and being a work in progress, He still sees fit to use me, and allows me to serve His Church.

In nearly 20 years I have had a consistent struggle each week as I plan worship. For many weeks, I have prayed & planned to create this experience. I have been up late at night thinking about it. I wake up thinking about specific moments that we are trying to create…special ways we are trying to impart God’s Truth to the congregation. I have dreamt about transitions and how critical they are to the flow of worship…and when we nail them, it can help to create a powerful moment in a worship service.

After this whole journey, I hand it off to volunteers who haven’t had the benefit of going through the journey with me. We can certainly work to explain what are hoping for and through rehearsals, hard work and great communication we can get a ton of things right; but, it isn’t always fair to expect our volunteers to be able to catch a month worth of preparation in a one hour rehearsal.

To Click or Not To Click, that is the question. Many churches are wrestling with this and I wanted to offer some thoughts on why and how we use click at MPCC. This is not meant to be a complete list, just a starting point. I would love to hear your thoughts in the Comments section.

  • Stability :: This is so important when leading worship. Sometimes slight changes can affect the congregation or even become a distraction, as they worship. We work so hard in planning, it makes sense to put things in place that protect the integrity and stability of the worship experience for our congregations.
  • Consistency ::  At MPCC, we rotate players each weekend in multiple worship venues. And, while there is certainly room for each player to have some room to interpret their parts, it’s important that our congregation has some level of consistency. For instance, the song “Soon” by Hillsong United…incredible song with amazing lyrics. This has become a very special song for our church. The tempo is marked at 70 and our congregation is used to the speed & sound. Surprises can be good but with these songs of deep worship, I want to make sure that our congregation can really enter in and sing in a way that puts them at ease. We’ve all had those moments when our emotions get caught up in worship and all of a sudden, the tempo jumps by 20 points and the moment is lost for the congregation. Click can help to manage that.
  • Training :: My wife, Kim, always says, “Singing is just like running or any kind of training. If you want to be a better, faster & more effective runner, find someone who is farther along than you are and run with them. Try to keep up with them. Learn from them.” Playing in a worship band is the same thing. Playing with click helps to train us – all of us (myself included) to stay and play in time. This is an element of basic musicianship and can go a long way in enhancing the worship experience for our congregation.
  • Visuals :: We are all using more and more visuals in worship. Light & video cues need a context and something to hold on to. When they hit at the right moment, it can really inspire our congregation to worship. Using click allows us to plan for those and to give context to those cues so that our light & video volunteers can flourish.
  • Supplements :: Using click allows you to supplement your band, as needed. Don’t have an acoustic guitar player and need one for a certain song? Record it on your click track. OR, many software programs allow you to mix your click and pull or raise levels of specific instruments, as needed. This is a HUGE help.
  • Multiple Venues :: At MPCC, during our 10:45am Sunday service, we have worship happening in multiple venues with separate bands, vocal teams & worship leaders. Then, we come together for the sermon. This is not a transition we can leave to chance. In our situation, both bands play to the same click track, which allows us to stay together.

One question I get often is, what about the spontaneous flow of the Holy Spirit? Great question. First, the Holy Spirit can inspire you as you plan just as He can during worship. Leave room for that. We program space between songs for those moments of spontaneous worship, before we click off the next song. I would also encourage you to spend some time praying, planning and talking about how click can be beneficial to your specific worship experience, with the unique needs of your congregation.

Nathan Sutliff (Westminster Church Of The Nazarene – Westminster, CO) wrote a great blog about click. You can find it HERE.

At MPCC, we use ProPresenter as our presentation software. We load our click into the Timeline feature in ProPresenter, using an AIFF file that we produce in a program called Reason. Websites like provide Reason files for many songs and using the program you can tailor those files for your situation. Then, we split the click so that our band gets the click side and our FOH Audio Engineer is able to mix the supplemental track into the house mix, as needed.

There are many other options for click, though. What do you use?

One Response to “To Click Or Not To Click :: Using Click Tracks In Worship”
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  1. […] your team play with a click track? Mine doesn’t, although we don’t have anyone on the kit and we don’t have in ear […]

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