Now, what to do about it… (with links to deeper reading)
1. Study the system and make plans.
Trace the signal flow through the equipment; from the stage through to the house loudspeakers. Make a log of equipment settings – equipment gets bumped or “played with.”
Create plans for dealing with worst-case scenarios. By knowing the system and what could happen, you’ll be prepared when it does happen.
2. View stage work, communication, etc. as factors that enable great mixing.
Church audio production is about working as a team with the pastor, the worship leader, and the musicians to present God’s word to the congregation and lead them in worship. Mixing the house sound is important but so is supporting the musicians and meeting their needs. The production work isn’t about mixing, it’s about offering up a gift to God and the congregation.
3. Learn to manage distractions.
There are two types of distractions: those needing immediate attention and those that can wait. Let’s look at the latter. Questions from a congregant right before the service—or during the service—can be answered with a quick reply or the statement: “Ask me after the service when I have more time.” Smile when saying it. Beware of how the distractions make you feel. Watch what you say – you may later regret it.
4. Learn the spiritual component of audio production.
A great mix doesn’t guarantee a great worship experience but the flip side is really cool; a great worship time doesn’t depend on a great mix. I recall a service when my mix could have been better (it sounded a bit off to me). Afterward, I heard someone say how great the band sounded and how much they enjoyed the worship time. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there will be worship, regardless of the level of production.
5. Catch the vision, delight in the vision, and realize the vision.
Become the person who can make a vision a reality.
6. Not every person loves corporate worship.
It’s a cold hard truth that I wish wasn’t so. Don’t take their lack of participation as a judgment on the audio production. And for the talkers…I don’t have much of an answer. If it’s anyone you know, consider dropping them a friendly email of encouragement filled with…
7. Plan on deeper study of mixing.
May every mix be better than the last. This isn’t to say the last mix was bad. It’s to say audio production is a craft and a good craftsman will hone their skills.
8. Manage the stress.
Know what’s out of your control. Learn from your mistakes. Know that small mistakes are usually forgotten. Find a mentor or fellow tech for post-service debriefing and venting.
Compliments to the band are compliments to the audio production. Going further, read Col 3:23-24: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
10. Know the outcome is a result, in part, of the grunt work.
It took a bit more than 3,000 people 410 days to build the Empire State Building. This includes installation of approximately 17 million feet of telephone wire. Walking into the finished building would reveal beautiful carpeting and newly painted walls. What’s under the carpeting? Subflooring. What’s behind the paint? Drywall and metal.