There is not much applauding in the church I serve, and that’s all right with me. When applauding in church becomes routine, it loses any meaning. But sometimes applause happens simply because it needs to happen. The gratitude and praise have to be released in that way.
My congregation applauds the children’s choirs occasionally because we are so happy to see the kids in worship and want to make sure they know how we feel. A few weeks ago the chorus of Central State University, a historically black college in southwestern Ohio, sang in the morning services. The applause at the end of the singing was long and loud—an authentic corporate “thank you” that did not diminish the liturgy one bit.
Sometimes an ovation needs to happen because there is no other way for a congregation to express itself. Such was the case at the funeral of my pastoral colleague Dana Ferguson.