Two of the most often questions I receive from sound tech is, "How do we worship when we are so busy working the mix during the service?" and "What can we do to better worship and still not neglect the sound?" These ministers in our churches carry a heavy load from week to week. They are responsible for making everything and everyone sounds good. When things go wrong or the music is too loud, they get funny looks from everyone who turns around to see what's the matter. They are the busiest people during our worship services. If we aren't heard and heard well, it is difficult to communicate properly the message of worship and life that we present each week. Their responsibilities are many, and their biggest responsibility is to the Lord through their personal worship. It's no wonder that we sometimes tend to forget about these special individuals as worshipers. We tend to treat them as tech people and not as a vital part of the worship team, and as people who want and need to worship themselves. When approached with this question from my own sound tech, I was forced to look at the facts and try to help him find an answer. He wanted to worship but felt he couldn't. The many tasks that go on during the service kept him from being able to truly worship. Sound techs have a tendency to constantly tweak the sound the whole service. It is an endless pursuit of perfection for many.
As I began to look at things from his perspective, I came up with a few suggestions for him. First, he needed to know that his main responsibility in the service was to worship. Sound and mixing are very important, but he is a worshiper. It is his biggest need and my greatest desire for him. I shared with him the reason we rehearse each week is to get things as close as we can in our mix and levels. I know that as the people capacity increases things will change, but if he can get the levels close at the start, we will go with it. Keep in mind that our sound person has been doing this for years and has a ton of experience and confidence. If a guitar is a hair too loud in the mix, that's something we can live with. Once things are set, he can begin worshiping. Bear in mind that every situation is different. If you have a young inexperienced sound tech, you may have to rotate him/her out every week so that they can get the worship they need. If they do not grow as worshipers, they will see their ministries as jobs. They will lose the spiritual connection with the team.
It is important to keep good communication with your tech crew in all aspects of what you do. Make sure that they are allowed to worship, and that you have communicated the thought that achieving a great mix is secondary to their personal growth as worshipers. What we stress in our ministries will come out in our people. Teach them to be worshipers first and sound techs second. Teach them to use their time to its fullest during the rehearsals to achieve the best quick mix. The more they know about sound the more proficient they will become. They will spend less time on the board and more time worshiping the Lord. Include the sound team in all you do by teaching them to be worshipers and not merely technicians. They are a huge part of the ministry and need to experience worship as the rest of us do. Keep the focus of worship before them on a constant basis and the rest will come with time.