An Introduction

Sound Engineering In the Church

First, A Few Words

My hope for you as you read this is that you would be actively engaging the materials, thinking about real-life application as you learn instead of just processing text on a page. My vision for all who run sound with me is that they would treat the idea of running tech for the Church as a ministry, not a job. It is far more than giving up your time to twist a few knobs and move some “sliders” around: running sound–or any other behind-the-scenes work for a church, for that matter–is as much a ministry as is the pastor’s preaching. Consider what would happen if a sound engineer decided he would sleep in on a Sunday morning. Sure, he’s not preaching, so surely he’s not as important  as the pastor, right? Wrong. The responsibilities of the sound engineer extend beyond even that of the lead pastor, as far as the Sunday morning service goes. He is responsible for the pre-music and post-music, he is responsible for sound checking and mixing for the worship team before the lead pastor preaches, and he is responsible for making sure that the lead pastor is heard well (and possibly recorded well, depending on the tech and team setup). Every time there is a transition in audio, it belongs to someone on the tech team. If that sound man decides to sleep in, he wreaks havoc among the leaders, requiring an unnecessary and unwelcomed replacement by unprepared and possibly untrained individuals. The worst-case scenario will probably never happen in a church that has any care for the tech side of ministry because of the system they would have in place. But the possible problems are endless.

It seems like sound engineers have nothing to look forward to except blame when they mess up. On the other side of the coin, however, the sound engineer must realize that he is indeed contributing greatly to the work of the church. He may be responsible for the problems that arise because of him, but he is also responsible for the success of his leadership team. One of the unsung heroes of the contemporary Church, the sound engineer works behind the scenes, creating space for the pastors, musicians, small group leaders, and others to bring in the lost of this world, to present Christ to new generations and new peoples. Don’t think of yourselves as “engineers” in terms of keeping things from breaking down but as “engineers” in terms of someone purposefully creating for and contributing to the work of the Kingdom. This is the best quality of a church sound engineer: know your purpose.