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Church Sound: The Sound Operator’s True Purpose And Role In Worship
For those of us who support the technical side - how can we help a ministry stay on track?
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We all agree that church should always be a venue in which to communicate the truth of Christianity.

But if one attends church and the message is not clearly communicated, we are off track.

Those delivering the message have the obvious responsibility of making sure it is consistently correct.

These folks, however, are dependent on the sound operator to make sure the message is delivered clearly to the congregation.

By the way, when I use the word “message,” I’m not simply referring to the sermon.” Worship and music themselves are also part of the overall message.

Our role is to make sure that all of this is accurately amplified, helping the congregation join in the worship experience. A colleague once compared running sound for a rock concert to running sound in church as the difference between mixing for an audience and mixing with an audience.

Therefore, every time we are at work at the console, or plugging in a microphone on the platform, we must ask ourselves what is our role, and what are we really trying to accomplish?

Role Playing
A high level of value must be placed on attitude. All too often, I’ve witnessed a frightening level of alienation between worship leaders, musicians, pastors and the “tech folks.”

Many view the role of sound operator as one that should be invisible. However, tho those of us actually working with sound, that role is far from invisible.

The best way to change this problem is to change our attitude, always look at at things from everyone’s perspective, rather than just our own.

At the same time, sound operators should never view their role as secondary or insignificant, regardless of how anyone else sees it. But if the worship leader calls it a support role, that’s OK, because is a support role to and for that individual.

It doesn’t make any difference who gets the credit, or who gets talked about at Sunday dinner. What the sound operator does matters, even if others don’t recognize it.

Our most important mission remains the same. Every time we take our position of supporting worship at our church, the only question we need to ask is simple: “What am I trying to accomplish?”

The answer will always show us the way.

Rob Stam has served as an AV system designer and installer for more than 20 years, and has been active as both a musician and sound operator as a church member.

 


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