By Stephen M. Newman
Founder, and Author of Experiencing Worship
June 06, 2023

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Worship Leader/Sound Tech

I have no idea what it's like to be a sound tech in a large church.  The duties and responsibilities are endless each week.  So much to worry about in the way of making it all happen.  So much to rely on with power, mixing, lighting, speakers, EQ's and more.  It's not like playing one instrument where all you have to worry about is not making too many mistakes.  The sound tech has a million things to worry about and there are as many things that can go wrong in a single service.

As a worship leader, I am very sensitive to our sound tech.  I let him have total say in the house sound.  Not many of us can have that luxury.  It hasn't always been that way but that is another article. What I want to communicate through this article is this: Even though I have the ultimate say in what happens, even though I am ultimately responsible for the sound of the church, I have to give my sound tech the freedom to do his job. It is his gifting and his talent that helps us sound good on Sundays. If he cannot do his job, it will come out in the sound and worship times. 

We all have two choices when it comes to the relationship of our sound techs, we can be a controller and try to run everything (hopefully we won't run them off), or we can work with them....side by side to get the best sound possible.  Just like the musician, the sound tech is a different bird,( just kidding) to a degree.  They need to be able to perform their ministries that God has called them to do.  Just as we don't like our pastors breathing down our necks with suggestions and ideas about the music and worship, the sound tech needs his space to do his job.  

I know that there are many cases where the sound tech may not be as proficient as you would like, and more guidance is needed, but, if you have a guy or gal  that is capable and has potential, let him have some room.  He/she will make mistakes just as you and I did in our early days, and yes even today.  What they need is good communication and a a lot of patience.  What they don't need is constant direction during a rehearsal where everyone is there.  I know that's the only time when it is possible to have everything going, but save most of the coaching for private times together at the board.  Make sure that you have a few good resources for training. If you find someone who loves it, has potential and is committed, you better hang on and do what it takes to keep them.  There are a ton of churches that wing it from week to week wondering if the sound person is going to show up or not.

One other word, during the rehearsals and before a service, there can be times when your guitar player needs more monitor or the keyboard player needs the guitars level turned down in the monitor, make sure that all communication to the sound is directed through you...the worship leader or music minister.  Nothing will frustrate a sound tech more than to have everyone telling him what they need at once.  Learn to teach your people to speak to you and then you communicate the need to the sound person.  It will make your life and the relationship much better in the long run.  The sound tech is a jewel and needs as much affirmation as your best player or singer. Give them the proper respect and space, and they will make your ministry a joyful place to be a part.  

Proper communication and direction will go a long way with any of our volunteer ministers.  Love them, praise them, and help them to be what God has called them to be and we will all will the people of the church as they gather to worship from week to week.  Tension and conflict can be avoided with proper directed communication.  Work together as a team and watch your people flourish and your ministry flourish.  Ministry is people, and the more you have working with you, the more ministry you can do.

Finally, I know there are cases where volunteers take their ministries" into their own hands and don't want to be told, by anyone, how to do it.  In those cases you need to be firm and exacting in your expectations and the roles you both play.  In these cases it is sometimes better to not a have a sound tech than to have an arrogant submissive one.  Remember, you are responsible for the sound of the church.  You are responsible for the attitude and the spirit of the team.  As a friend use to say, "there is no "I" in team.  These are the times when getting tough is needed for the sake of the whole group and ministry.  Hopefully those times are rare.  Learn to love the people you work for and with, communicate what them what you expect and need and your ministries will be more productive and joyful. 

Stephen M. Newman
Founder, and Author of Experiencing Worship
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