Simply Worship: Sunday Service Power Outage a Blessing Unplanned and Unplugged

 In All Church of God, CHOG, Great Lakes

By Carl Stagner

Sometimes our plans don’t work out—for the better. On Sunday, September 11, a transformer near Church at the Crossing proved no match for morning storms blowing through the Indianapolis area. In the middle of the morning message, the power went out, leaving attendees of the Church of God congregation’s first of two Sunday services in the dark. By candlelight and the leading of the Spirit, worship could not be stopped, however. Instead, pared down to the basics, their Sunday morning experience turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

“We had to make a decision to move forward or cancel,” Clint Dunn, pastor of worship arts at Church at the Crossing, explains. “It would be hours before power was restored, so we made the decision to move forward with worship—unplugged!”

Clint Dunn leading at CATC on September 11.

Andrew Miller, associate teaching pastor at the church, had already preached without a microphone once that morning, so confidence was high that a repeat was certainly doable in the second service. “We grabbed all the candles we could find and set them around the perimeter of the platform,” Clint continues. “We changed our opening song and flipped our closing song to a new selection. We grabbed two acoustic guitars, and our bass player that day knew how to play an upright bass (which the church already had), so he grabbed that. I rounded up worship team members that were present and, with no rehearsal or warning ahead of time, they joined us on the platform and led worship with us. The room was dark, there was no air conditioning and no sound system, screens, or microphones.”

Even the video footage archived that morning was obtained through someone’s cell phone. No doubt, it would be a morning to remember, but not because of the unexpected setbacks and necessary exercise in quick thinking and flexibility. That Sunday at Church at the Crossing will be remembered because of the way the Spirit moved in and through the simplicity of the worship.

“The worship was a beautiful time,” Clint recounts. “Because it was so unusual, it had a great impact in the moment. It was exciting to hear the power of the human voice and worship. The darkened room created such an intimate space for people to freely worship, and we encouraged them to do just that. We encouraged them to surrender their worship to God, raise their hands, and worship like never before. The response was so special.”

The Arabic service (third in progression) also enjoyed an especially meaningful worship experience unplugged. Taking place in the lobby, where rays of sunlight streamed inside for a scenic setting, acoustic accompaniment and voices lifted heavenward rounded out the uniquely wonderful day.

Clint Dunn is in his eleventh year of serving in this role at the Indianapolis church. His time in worship leadership in the Church of God stretches even father back. He remembers one time when a squirrel reportedly chewed through a transformer, affecting morning rehearsal and sound check. But, until now, he’d never experienced power going out like that during the morning service.

“We have actually had talks about, and are making plans, to have worship opportunities in the future specifically designed to be unplugged, but with air conditioning!” Clint quips.

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