Ministry is foremost about people and relationships.
As a worship leader and amateur sound guy I realize there can be areas of tension between the stage and the booth. Between 'us' and 'them'. But the goal of the worship leader and the sound person should be identical: to provide as few distractions for the worshipper as possible. I'm blessed to work alongside a worship staff and a media team who see our goal as one-and-the-same. But every now and then, we pass around this list (which I blatantly stole and adapted from the creative mind of Nathan Sutliff) just to remind ourselves…
10 Things Every Worship Leader Wishes Their Sound Person Knew
1. Sorry, that equipment is not in the budget.
2. I realize when I ask for more of “me” you just put your hand on the knob, looking at me without actually turning any knob at all. Tricky, tricky…
3. An acceptable volume level is not when less than 10 people complain.
4. Vocals and melody are really the most important thing for a congregation to hear.
5. A drum cage is a great way to control the sounds of our drummer (however, I am not opposed to chains…).
6. Microphone cues aren’t mere suggestions like the speed limit.
7. When you do a good job, I look good, when you do a bad job, you look bad. That's life.
8. You don’t own that booth; you are part of a team.
9. Batteries, batteries, batteries.
10. You are a vital part to making people experience worship. Thank you for your hard work and dedication. This is something I don’t tell you enough and should tell you more.
Of course, you have to consider the other side of the coin…
10 Things Every Sound Person Wishes Their Worship Leader Knew
1. It may not be in the budget, but you should never buy microphones that are 2-for-1. Seriously. You get what you pay for, so don’t be cheap if you want better sound.
2. You have no idea if I am turning that knob or not when you want more in the monitor, so trust me.
3. Do you want a good mix or acceptable volume level? In our church, it’s one or the other.
4. My job is basically to make louder whatever you give me. A better mix starts on stage.
5. A drum cage makes the drums sound like they are in a box… that is the reason you never see them in real life.
6. More speakers doesn’t mean 'louder sound'. It means a fuller sound at a lower volume level and better coverage.
7. Do you want me to mix or produce? Because that one guy is completely overplaying…
8. I can achieve anything with enough coffee.
9. Soundcheck time is not practice time.
10. My goal is not to draw attention to myself, but help point the congregation towards Christ. Thank you for what you do. Without you, I wouldn't have a place to serve.
It always gives us a chuckle and helps us refocus our priorities. Whether you lead worship with a full band, piano and organ, or a vocal mic and iPod, the goal is the same: to create a worship environment with minimal distractions. Jesus said, "If I be lifted up, I will draw all people to myself." By working together, we can be undistracted in worship as we proclaim Him.