This week we’ve been talking about how to strengthen the working relationship between the musical and technical artists of the worship team. And I phrase that very intentionally. I really do see us as one team with two disciplines. It’s important to maintain that perspective as we try to solve the challenges that we face whenever people are involved.
Last time, I shared some ideas on how the worship leader can help the technical staff serve the whole team better. This time, I’d like to share some things I learned in my nearly 30 years as both a volunteer and paid technical artist.
This may seem somewhat in contradiction to my previous post in which I implored worship leaders to communicate early with the technical folks. However, the two go hand in hand. Once your worship guy tells you what the weekend will look like, make sure you can pull it off. You should have time in your weekly routine to set up for the weekend in advance (or at least early) and make sure it all works before the band arrives.
Of course there will be last minute adjustments from time to time, but we can handle them because we are prepared. If you can be ready for the 80% you know, the 20% you don’t know about isn’t so stressful.
The question from a conference goer last week was about how he could get his sound guys to show up on time and be prepared. This sort of frustrates me. We need to take it upon ourselves to be there not on time, but early. The entire stage should be fully set up and ready to go, and line checked before the band arrives. Nothing frustrates a worship leader more than having to wait for the sound team to get their act together. Folks, this is unacceptable. Show up early, do a great job and watch how much better the whole weekend rolls along.
Get Out of the Booth
So often, I watch tech guys sit back in the booth, arms crossed about their chests while the band comes in and gets set up. If someone on stage asks where to plug in, the sound guy will use the talkback mic to tell him, “The cable!” That is not how it should be.
Get out of the booth, go down on stage and be there when the musicians arrive. Talk with them, find out about their week, help them set up. Make sure they have what they need to be successful that weekend. I have done this for years and I can tell you without reservation that those 15 minutes of “extrovert time” will make a huge difference in the weekend. And not only the weekend, but in the way you are perceived and treated overall. Yes, I know it can be hard. Do it anyway.
Be a Team Player
I’ve heard tech guys spend most of the weekend tearing down those on stage. I can assure you that is not the way to win friends and influence people. I like to joke about worship leaders not knowing the lyrics to the songs they are leading as much as anyone (and that’s probably another post), but when I’m in the booth, I do my best to encourage those on stage.
The truth is, being up there, exposed, in front of the whole congregation is hard. Most artists, despite how they act, have big confidence issues. If you can build them up and let them know you have their back no matter what, they will do a better job. That, in turn, makes your job easier.
One of the nicest going away cards I’ve ever received was from one of our younger vocalists. She specifically thanked me for always encouraging her and putting up with her goofy requests. She told me how much that helped her and built her up, which made it easier to lead worship. That kind of stuff makes a lasting impression.
Like I said last time, this is not an exhaustive list. There is a lot more we can do, but I’ll leave it here for now. Oh, and one more thing. To quote my friend Andrew; Don’t forget to not suck.