Nope, this has nothing to do with how loud the services are (we actually like them pretty loud)! : )
It’s about communication. A lot of times, our communication can be pretty one way. We place a great deal of importance on the communication that comes from us, and often a great deal less on the communication that comes to us. It’s human nature. But it’s the bad part of human nature, and God calls us to fight against that sort of self-centered mindset.
One key communication link in worship services is between the worship team and the soundpeople. Here’s how it often goes: the band starts warming up, the song finishes, and a chorus of voices starts from the platform… “I can’t hear myself!” “Can I have less snare!” “There’s a buzz coming from the monitors!” and the oh so helpful “Something sounds weird…”
The problem is that those voices often come all at the same time, and sometimes in a whiny or demanding tone (think the less flattering definition of “diva”). I am a musician by background, so I’ve been a culprit in the past, I know. This usually causes embittered soundpeople, who find passive/aggressive ways to exact their revenge (such as the fake volume change – “Yeah, I turned you up, does that sound better” when the volume knob was not touched).
Nowadays, I still play sometimes, but I usually function as the service producer, overseeing the music and tech side of things. To help avoid unhealthy communication, here’s the rule that I’ve put in place: All communication goes between the Worship Pastor (anything coming from the stage) and the Tech Director or myself (anything coming from the booth). Questions are funneled through these folks so that we can hit one thing at a time, and then move on – in a polite and time-saving fashion. It works, and it helps keep human nature under control.
Stay tuned for part II…
BTW, there are usually four of us in the booth. A lighting director (not shown here – this photo is actually taken from the lighting position), a sound person, me (basically an executive producer) and a show producer (who communicates to all stations, esp. the video room). I’m the one in the middle here (the older one)…
BTW again, our show producer does not call video cues (since we’re in the middle of the congregation) – that is done in our video control room, which is below the auditorium.