Great sound in our gathered worship spaces is all about removing obstacles. How a congregation perceives sound from the stage should inspire more singing, not less. A music volume that is weak is just as much a distraction as piercing frequencies that assault the ears of the faithful. Churches often meet in strange rooms at strange times. We have revolving volunteers with competing values working the knobs. Because of this, it’s ok for churches to be vigilant in the evaluation of sonic environments. This video (and some notes below) will give inspiration and ideas for senior leaders as we work together to win the volume war:
1. Decide the culture of sound that you want
Certain leadership values will encourage concert-like environments, while others lean towards a more ancient future space. Many will say you want it all! Cast a wide net, but choose which side of the boat and tell your worship leaders and sound teams what you want. Your language for this value is more important than the number on a decibel meter. Pastors, check out this brilliant post from Dan Wilt on the values of volume.
2. Champion your worship and sound teams
Sound and worship teams are used to being critiqued when things go wrong; it’s rare we get specific and honest praise from the senior leadership. When you hear something you like, heap praise:
“Hey Jon, those drums sound amazing today on ‘10,000 Reasons’!”
“Jenny, your mix on the soundboard was incredible today…. the low end was nice.”
“Hey Becky, you and Alan sounded spot on with those vocals”
“Hey team, there was tangible energy in the room today from the worship team. Thank you!”
3. Dream of the future!
Your current building and sound set up might not be ideal, but that should not keep you from dreaming for the future. Think big. Think practical. If I wrote you a check for $10,000 for worship gear, what would you buy? Write that down. Be specific. For years we have kept a three-ring binder in the green room with dream gear. Over the years people have bought us stuff from that binder because we named what we wanted. Here is an example of a Sound Dream Sheet.
My name is Mike O’Brien and I am passionate about teaching and mentoring worship leaders and teams. For 18 years I have served one church under one senior pastor. My calling is to use my experience as a producer, worship leader, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist to come alongside musicians, helping them more fully worship God. Contact me to talk about how we can raise the bar through virtual or on-site training for your worship ministry.