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Church Sound: The Key Steps To Technically Transparent Worship Services

Working to eliminate technical and artistic issues that can compromise services

By Brian Gowing July 9, 2013

This article is provided by Gowing Associates.

What is technically transparent worship (TTW)? I know I’m not the first to use that term, nor will I be the most eloquent to describe its implementation into a church environment.

But I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, having visited a number of churches and observing how they handle their services.

To me, technically transparent worship means that someone coming into your church for either the first or the thousandth time will not encounter technical or artistic issues that will interfere with providing them a total, enveloping, immersive worship experience. This is an ideal or a mission statement, if you will.

Too many times I see churches that say they want to do this, but they don’t want to go through the pains that are necessary to achieve it.

Note that I say this is an achievable goal. It is. But not without hard work, planning and practice—not to mention commitment from the entire service team, starting with the pastor, going through the worship leader and their team, and the technical team.

Pain? Absolutely. If you’re not already at this level, then you’re going to go through some pain and discomfort as you leave your comfort zone.

Here are the steps:

1) Vision casting

2) Planning

3) Organizing

4) Practicing

5) Implementing

6) Troubleshooting

7) Repeat steps 1-6

Vision Casting
In a nutshell, vision casting is when the team responsible for the Sunday service environment sits down together and determines how the environment should be set up to reflect the message that is going to be given.

It starts with the pastor explaining what the content of the sermon is about and what the main point of the message is. The bottom line: what do we want the congregation to take away and retain? Once the team (pastor, worship leader, technical leader, design leader) understands the point of the message, that’s when the fun begins.

It is the pastor’s responsibility (it’s his sermon after all) to determine what the main point is supposed to be and communicate that to the team members as early as possible (Pastor, it isn’t a good idea to do this Friday and expect the team to be able to put together something wonderful and polished for Sunday).

Start out small—vision cast the entire sermon series first. It’s usually easier to do it at a series level anyway. That way the congregation will have a specific theme across multiple Sundays. Cast it as early as possible and cast it as often as possible.

Also start thinking about the process for each sermon series, even up to a year out. Don’t worry that things will change as the dates get closer. That’s a natural progression and to be expected.

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