Technology’s Objective in Worship

Visitors to the control booth frequently say “That’s sure a lot of buttons!”

I usually smile and say “And each one has a function.  But it’s not too difficult once you break them into groups and subsets.  This section does this, each of these rows does this, the blue knobs do one thing, the white another.”

What do they ALL do together?   From a worship perspective, I mean.  Pan back with me for a minute; look at the booth from a ministry perspective. 

  • What’s all this equipment do?
  • What do its operators do that relates to worship?
  • What’s the ministry function here?

It’s difficult to answer succinctly, isn’t it?.

Here’s how I’ve come to answer the question; see what you think of my take on things.

Picture a small but easy-to-read sign in the booth ( like you need something else to watch) that reads:

We are here to

enhance what’s occurring now,

anticipate what’s coming next and

eliminate (or minimize*) distractions

so these people can enjoy today’s/tonight’s meeting with God.

For that to happen they need to see well and hear well. 

When you read those lines, what happens inside? I’m interested in your response, especially if you’re a ministry technician/artist.  

 

(*I say “minimize” about distractions because while technical mis-fires are certainly distractions, sometimes they happen elsewhere, “out of reach” in a way. So the ones we can control we eliminate completely. The rest we minimize.  )


10 Replies to “Technology’s Objective in Worship”

  1. pchrismac

    What a great purpose statement for a production/sound team! (Hope you don’t mind if I borrow that.)
    Too many times we fill our sound booths with warm bodies to turn a channel on/off, or to flip PowerPoint slides, but don’t really give them an understanding of what their purpose is. It’s more than pushing buttons, it is creating atmosphere – and it is VERY important.
    This statement not only gives them a sense of purpose, but hopefully a degree of “pride” in their work, and a drive to do all things (moving PowerPoint slides included) unto the glory of Christ.

  2. Phil

    Thanks! And yes, you may borrow it. If you publish it I want credit, though. 😀

    The ministry from this end of the room IS very important – I consider the tech team the “invisible – and we like it that way” members of this morning’s team — at the other end of the room.
    I’ll go further than “creating atmosphere”, though. It’s facilitating the message of the hour, usually to at least three of the five senses. (If something catches fire, call it four).

    There’s more here on Vibrance about distraction-free worship, one of the points I always emphasize. I think if you type “distractions” in the search bar on the right, WordPress will take you to my stuff. Or you can click “worship” in the Categories and Tags, will do the same thing.

    It’s fun to good-naturedly remind the artists on the platform that every last one of them is at the mercy of the artists in the booth – so be nice, y’all! 😀

    Phil—

  3. Dave

    As usual your purpose statement not only hits a bullseye, but splits the arrow dead center. We are in the process of relocating the sound board in the church. When it is finished a little engraved plate will have that purpose stated if I have anything to say about it (with credit to you of course 😆 )

  4. Dave

    A humorous story about sound techs having control…

    Our youth pastor mentioned a couple of years ago that he had absolute power because he had a microphone and there was nothing anyone could do because “he had the power”. A simple punch of the mute button on his channel showed him how fleeting his “power” was! He looked funny mouthing words but nothing was coming out.

    Another story.. same youth pastor!

    He is an avid Ohio State Buckeye fan in the middle of Michigan country. Last fall when a Michigan graduate transferred to Ohio State for graduate studies, he announce that a “wandering lamb” had found her way home! I warned him in his glee that his electronic voice could be faded down to nothing if his good natured trash talk continued. He backed down after a fellow tech downloaded the Michigan fight song to a CD and we threatened to feed it through the speakers so he could hear it as well as the congregation if he continued the “talk”. The treat worked and he did not mention Ohio State again. Sound techs do have the power!

  5. Phil

    Hi Dave!

    It’s amazing – most of the books people borrow from me come back to me since I started using your idea of putting
    “Stolen from the Library of … ” inside. 😆

    Maybe the credit on that sign should read
    “Stolen from the mind of…” (ummm.. Mebbe NOT!)

    Help yourself! A sign in a control booth isn’t publishing 😀

    Isn’t the power of the mic something?! I’m glad you all enjoy the fun moments of ministry together. Some youth pastors take more training than others. (I can say that, ‘cuz I’ve BEEN one.)

    Phil—

  6. pistolpete

    You pack a lot of good thinking into this short piece. I would only add that while technology is both a blessing (when it works) and a curse (when it doesn’t), it is the tool of our culture – “the language of the people” & to refuse to use it is like clinging to the Latin mass.

  7. Shane

    Awesome point Phil,

    As a technician one of the best things I was taught early on is that our job is to:

    “Make people sound [look] better than they are IRL (in real life)”

    It may sound arrogant, but it is our job to make whomever is on stage look and sound better BECAUSE of us.

    I really do enjoy the power demonstrated by my fellow compatriots in the sound booth and the liberties that we can take in fun/jest.

    Shane

  8. Joni Ruhs

    As both a vocalist and a warm body needed to fill in at (desperate times) twisting knobs and punching buttons, I have been on both sides of the booth. And there has to be a LOT of humility and trust on either end. I remember an instance years ago where a vocalist asked for something in their monitor, the sound tech said “watch this” and pretended to turn a dial because he thought the vocalist didn’t know what she was talking about. It was quite eye opening to see him do that. Thus began a rift between the stage and the booth which took years to reconcile. And yes, this was within an emerging church in its day.

    However, I know a man who was the humblest of tech directors. His team complained from time to time that they didn’t get to worship much because they were working in the sound booth so often. He replied that just as the Levites whose sole job it was to wash and dry the implements in the temple were worshiping God, so it is with every knob you twist, cord you wrap or mic stand you adjust. Do it all for the glory of God.

  9. blessed1

    I say Amen to that….the less distractions the better. 100% focus on fellowship with the Lord is what worship should be about and I think the post is great.

    By the way…thanks for the great comment on my page. I’m glad you’re going to participate. I can’t wait to see your 7 days of Thanks!

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