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Church Sound: The Importance Of Audio Team Leadership & Organization

Working to be a good delegator, administrator and teacher

By Gary Zandstra May 6, 2013

Over the years that I’ve worked with churches, the problems I find often have foundation in basic communication, organization and administrative skills – or lack thereof.

Quite often I will visit with a church that is complaining of a lack of consistency in the technical aream and the explanation goes something like: “When Jim is here everything works, but when he’s not, it’s a disaster.”

I know at that point that while Jim may be a great tech operator and may understand the system very well, he is most likely not a good delegator, administrator or teacher.

When I’m at a church that is suffering from the “Jim’s the man” syndrome I can almost guarantee that the mixing board/patching is either not labeled, labeled incorrectly or just poorly labeled. The poor guys who are working tech on the weeks Jim is not there end up scrambling just to get things properly connected and working.

Also, because they are volunteers and “Jim the man” is the golden child in the eyes of the worship leader, people are afraid to step in and to try to organize and logically lay out the board. Other things that end up happening usually relate back to clear organization, such as:

• Batteries failing in the middle of the service because everybody thought someone else had changed them.

• Trying four microphone cables until you find one that works, because nobody throws out or labels the bad cables.

• The last minute scramble to find a mic (or stand, or direct box) that is missing because somebody used it during the week in another room at the church.

• Nobody shows up to mix on a Sunday morning. Bob traded with Steve who traded with George and now nobody really knows who on for the next month.

• The sound operator who is “on” for a given week shows up late because “Jim the man” never told him the worship leader was bringing in a mini-orchestra of 10 players and utilizing six vocalists. The poor guy was actually on-time for a typical Sunday not knowing he had an hour of setup to do.

I’m sure you can add your own list of frustrationsm but rather than moan over them, let’s look at how to prevent them.

1) Get together as a group and agree to a consistent layout of the mixing board and create a channel/patch list that sits next to the board. Also, commit to each other that if for some reason you need to deviate from the standard layout, immediately following the service you will reset the boars to the standard layout.

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About Gary

Gary Zandstra
Gary Zandstra

Consultant, Dan Vos Construction, Writer for Worship Facilities and ProSoundWeb
Gary Zandstra has worked in church production and as an AV systems integrator for more than 35 years. He’s also contributed numerous articles to ProSoundWeb over the past decade.


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