July 27, 2018
There are six things I wish someone would have told me when I started in church audio production. They’re simple to understand yet, no one talks about them
- Worst-case scenarios really do happen.
My friend was mixing the service and everything was going great. There was even another person in the sound booth, shadowing him, as part of the audio production learning process. Suddenly, without warning, the equipment in the sound booth shut down, the house speakers fell silent, and the band stopped playing. Every tech’s nightmare, right? My friend quickly looked around and realized that the other guy swiveled in his chair and his knee hit a power switch on a floor rack unit. Worst-case scenario and yet a simple solution.
Here’s the thing, when something goes wrong, you aren’t allowed to panic, at least not outwardly. What you should do is follow a four-point routine:
- Relax – you’ll think clearer. Take a deep breath and then move to step 2.
- Assess the situation. Look around at what the equipment is doing and what is going on onstage. Don’t assume you know what the problem is.
- Take in the information and make a plan. Maybe it’s as simple as have another microphone handed to someone one stage. Maybe it’s much more complex.
- Execute on that plan. If that plan doesn’t work, assess the situation again and make a new plan and execute on it.
The best way to deal with these worst-case scenarios is to plan for them. However, if you’re surprised by something you didn’t see coming, then follow that process of Relax, Assess the situation, Make a Plan, and Execute on it.
- It’s a Dirty Job
I’ve had to crawl under places as I waved at the friendly neighborhood spiders. I’ve had to lube up a snake cable to feed through conduit and then pull it out the other end. There isn’t much you can do about this part of the job other than to accept it.
I’ve had techs tell me they had people who wanted to volunteer but only if they mixed. They didn’t want to do the less glamorous work, like stage prep or cleaning equipment.
Just keep one thought in mind – this is a ministry job and part of my work is serving people.
- The Shure SM58 microphone makes a handy weapon.
What I mean by that is live audio production is stressful. The schedule changes. Things break. Personalities clash. And, there are no do-overs. IT’S LIVE, BABY!
It can be stressful, but that comes with the job.
- Great mixing doesn’t guarantee great worship.
There are days when the band is great and the mix is great and everything seems perfect. Yet, not everyone is worshiping and praising God. Good audio production creates an environment conducive for worship. That’s ALL it can do.
The goal should always be to create an audio production that benefits the congregation but it can’t guarantee anything.
- And this one really bugs me….People talk during the music.
Sitting in the sound booth gives me the ability to watch people. I can watch who comes in late and who leaves early. I can see who is texting, playing Candy Crush, or checking Facebook. And…grrrrr…I can watch the talkers. Sometimes, they’re close enough to be heard. The band is playing, people are worshiping, and then a Mr. or Mrs. decides it’s time to talk.
Some people just don’t get it. It’s their loss.
- The Most Important.
I’ve often said that church audio is ministry work but it’s also the least recognized so for number six, you need to learn to rejoice.
The congregation walks in the sanctuary and a short while later walks out. They experience an hour or two of a service while you’ve put in two or three times that in prep work. They don’t know that. They don’t need to. What they need to do when they are there is marvel at the one great God. And they can do that because you’ve done the hard work.
Rejoice because God’s using you so people can focus their attention on Him.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
Source: Ministry Tech