The quality of church sound systems should not be taken lightly by anyone…the ministry staff, the sound technicians, or the congregation. Church is a place to hear God’s word, talk with friends, and to just relax from all the stresses of the outside world. The sound system is one touch point that overlaps all of the groups mentioned above. Either directly or indirectly, sound systems impact every aspect of a ministry.
While the congregation can sit back and enjoy the benefits of a well designed audio-visual system as it makes the music ministry performances and worship messages come alive, there is one group that doesn’t get the chance to relax…and it’s not the pastoral staff. It’s the people sitting in the back of the sanctuary in a little cubicle packed full of dials, knobs, meters, cords, computer screens, and the pressure of making the music and sermon sound “just right.” The quality of the sound depends solely on the staff manning the sound booth. It makes no difference if a church has a multi-million dollar system, or just some guitars plugged into a $120 amp. An inexperienced sound guy can make Third Day sound like a high school garage band.
While people in the congregation look at and hear the musicians, the musicians look to and depend on the sound technicians. The “sound guy” is definitely the unsung hero of any well put together church service. Nobody sees the person the back tweaking and twisting little knobs but everyone, without question, is directly affected by that person’s performance. Any musician will tell you the importance of having both an expert sound technician, and a top notch sound system.
So, how does a church come to have a well-run sound system? More often than not the sound is run by someone who has offered his or her time to learn and run the system. Looking at a sound board and the sea of complex instrumentation will make anyone understand that to run a sound system well would take a lot more than learning through on the job training. Professional training is paramount if a church desires a confident and expert sound technician. Training a volunteer is also something to be considered. Sound systems are sophisticated, and explaining it in everyday terms is a difficult task. Seriously consider the aid of outside professionals who can not only provide you with the best equipment, but that can install it properly, and that can also train your sound technicians.
While the expert sound guy makes a difference, so does the quality of the churches sound system, the quality of the installation, and the training of the technicians! Do it right and your service will be memorable and moving…do it wrong and your service will be, inaudible, brash and distracting.