I have recently located to the Atlanta area in Georgia. I’ve had the opportunity to see Andy Stanley speak live several times, and via the Northpoint services which started broadcasting live online several years ago. When we moved to the area, we know that we wanted to attend one of the Northpoint campuses. We live in the Canton, area so Watermarke Church was a natural fit. What I remember most about our first Sunday was during the music, I was able to just get lost in the moment and worship God without distraction. Why? Because the sound was done so well.
Why is this important?
I have been to churches where attention to sound is not a concern or not enough of a concern. Now before anybody starts hitting me with budgetary comments, it doesn’t take a fortune to get good sound. Good sound doesn’t necessarily have to be concert like experience.
I played drums in my church for nearly 7 years. While on stage, I was able to use an Aviom system to adjust the levels of my kit, other instruments and vocals. With my own custom mix, I wasn’t distracted. Therefore I could just worship while playing and lead others in worship.
Being part of the congregation is a similar experience. So when somebody singing backup vocals is louder than the lead vocal, when I can’t hear the drums, or when a guitar solo is silent, it’s a distraction. When one is distracted, the Holy Spirit cannot work.
Many churches of course, do not have access to a professional sound person. Volunteers are taught how to use the sound board, but they are not taught how to properly run the sound.
Hiring somebody full time to run sound brings us right back to the budgetary issues. So how does one get around that?
What to do?
There are several ways:
1. Bring on an intern – A college student going to school for audio engineering would be a great resource. It works well for both parties. Your church has somebody around that knows how to effectively run the sound and he gets real experience. He can use his skills to properly train volunteers.
2. Look for workshop or even free training – Music stores such as Sam Ash and George’s Music in Florida would routinely have free workshops where professional sound engineers would teach for several hours, imparting crucial information and training to those responsible for running sound.
3. Hire a sound engineer on a contract basis – Rather than hiring an engineer full time which may not be in the budget, bring one aboard for several weeks. Work out the arrangements for the number of days and rate and schedule the time with your volunteers to get the necessary training.
Sound is critical. We can watch movies that are ok if they have killer sound. However, something can look fantastic, but if the sound is terrible, we’ll stop watching. Our worship environments should not distract us.
What kind of tips would share to help improve the audio environment for a Church service?