Get Over Yourself!
Being Part of the Team
By: Craig Henkelman
I finally got over myself.
From that moment on, being part of the worship leadership team in the church became more important to me than having the perfect mix. I still research to learn so I can continue to be better, however, being part of that team is integral to providing peace of mind to the worship leader and to provide the congregation with a distraction free audio experience. Providing peace of mind for the worship leader is the most important thing we, as sound people, can accomplish.
I have found since becoming a worship leader in the last few years at my church, along with 25 plus years of sound experience, that there’s not much worse on a Sunday morning than being stressed about the setup or finished sound. The worship leader’s job is to lead the congregation into the presence of God through music and liturgy and the arts. They simply cannot be free to do this while stressing about the technical aspects of the service.
It’s critical for the sound person to establish a relationship of mutual respect and trust with the worship leader. Here are practical ways for us to take the initiative to build that relationship:
- Submitting to the leadership of the worship pastor or director. They have been given authority by the leadership of the church for that role. It is important we respect the leadership of the church and the role of the worship leader. It is their vision we need to fit into: their vision for what the music will sound like, their vision for how loud the spoken word will be, their vision for the look of the lighting. As the leader recognizes that the sound person is on board with their vision they will begin to be trust and respect that person.Channel gain is a macroscopic volume control
- Attending all rehearsals, learning the songs and practicing as much as the band is vital. Just as musicians need to practice their instruments or vocalists need to practice singing, we need to practice and hone our skills. Being present at all rehearsals and learning songs will communicate to the leader that we are invested.
- Providing a distraction-free audio experience. This is a problem area for me, only because my perfectionist tendencies have a way of coming through. What I’ve been striving for more recently in my career is excellence. Excellence means something different for everyone, yet it is also something that can always be improved upon. Perfection is unattainable – striving for it will bring nothing but frustration. Working towards excellence is a goal that will always keep us moving forward. It will drive us to practice, research and put the required time in.
- On a practical level it’s about being prepared and about paying attention. Come early and have everything set up and ready for the rehearsal or service.
- Change all the batteries in the wireless equipment.
- Make the stage clean and clutter free.
- Know your setlist.
- Pay attention to what is happening; pick up on cues from the leader on stage.
Doing sound in church is one of the most difficult places to do it well. Churches have the widest demographic of people in any venue or concert. Every person there will have their own ideas and opinions regarding what style or volume or mix is right for a church. That is why it’s vital to be part of the team and work with and under the leadership of the worship director. Follow their vision, be creative and practice. And remember… it’s not about you!