What Is A Confidence Monitor?
You’re a worship leader, leading worship on a Sunday morning. You’re supposed to start singing the next song, but you’ve been standing frozen in silence for what feels like an eternity because your mind has gone COMPLETELY BLANK. As your eyes scan the worshippers looking back at you expectantly (Are there more people here than usual? And when did it get so hot in here?), the glow of a TV screen at the feet of the people on the first row (Are they closer than usual?) catches your eye. Aaaand there they are. The lyrics and melody come flooding back into your head, and you begin the song with a little more energy than usual. Because of the adrenaline. And the redirected panic. This is the beauty of confidence monitors.
Shane & Shane rehearsing for The Porch, the largest young adults ministry in the U.S., at Watermark Community Church. (This photo was taken facing the empty room, but you can’t tell because of the haze).
SO…WHAT IS A CONFIDENCE MONITOR?
Most churches these days have main screens that are visible to the audience, but those screens are rarely situated in a location conveniently visible for a person standing on stage. A confidence monitor is a screen that faces the stage so that it’s easily visible to someone facing the audience. It might be projected on the back wall of the room, a strategically (and discreetly) placed TV screen at the edge of the stage or on the front row, or even an iPad mounted to a microphone stand. The goal of a confidence monitor is to serve as a backup source of information (the primary source being their brain) for the person on stage, so incidents like the situation above can be avoided.
Jonathan (JP) Pokluda speaking at The Porch. In addition to being a teaching pastor at Watermark, JP also happens to be a member on our board of directors.
WHAT’S ON A CONFIDENCE MONITOR?
Well, that really depends on your setup. At the very least, a confidence monitor should be a mirror of what’s on the main screens, but ideally it will also have:
High contrast & minimal design, so that it’s easily legible.
A time indicator. A countdown and/or a clock will help keep pastors from going too long (in theory).
Information from the current and next slides. Giving the singer (or speaker) a peek at what’s coming will help avoid awkward pauses between lyrics or points.
I’ve even seen layouts that include cues & prompts, guitar chords, and other messages or information that doesn’t show up on the main screens. The possibilities are limited only by your presentation software.
An example of a confidence monitor layout. The “Video Countdown” box has a timer that counts down to zero so the band knows when to start. The “Pro1” is a service timer. The “Message” box is for messages that won’t be shown on the main screens.
HOW DO YOU SET ONE UP?
The good news is: most presentation software titles (even PowerPoint and Keynote) support some version of this concept, so you probably already have the ability. The tricky part is making sure your hardware supports it, but that’s beyond the scope of this article. If you’d like us to go more in-depth on the technical side of things in a future post, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org