Do You Have a Case of Big Church Envy?

Prepare to be uncomfortable.  You have fallen prey to Big Church Envy.  You know who you are and what I’m talking about and you’re starting to squirm in your seat.

Just because a church the size of Willow Creek or Saddleback has a fantastic mondo sound, video, and lighting system doesn’t justify YOU spending that kind of money on equipment. These Big Churches are a different breed and can set the bar for the rest of us. That doesn’t mean we should copy them.

The Symptoms

It’s fun to drool over a Big Church’s latest $50,000 digital mixer or $100,000 lighting setup.   [click to continue »]

You Made Behind the Mixer Number 7 – Thank You

Every year, the fine folks at ChurchMag compile a list of the 30 Top Church Tech Blogs.  They look at factors from Google Page Rank to social media and a few others.  But to even be considered for the list, a site first must be nominated.

The result is a list of the top 30 sites covering areas of tech including;

  • Audio / Video / Lighting Production
  • Podcasting
  • Social Media
  • Stage Design
  • Web Site Design
  • and Even Marketing (technology is everywhere!)

You Made Behind the Mixer #7!

Through nominations, commenting on posts, subscribing to the newsletter, and JUST BEING REALLY COOL TECHIES, you put this site in the TOP TEN.  [click to continue »]

Technically Transparent Worship: Implementation (Part 6)

vision3
Part 6 of 6 in the series Technically Transparent Worship

EEK! I never published the Implementation phase of Technically Transparent Worship! Thanks, Stephen, for reminding me.

Implementation

Here’s where it gets tough. If senior leadership has had battles with the tech team over the “vision” then the first thing to do is ask for forgiveness and an opportunity to start over.  That means swallowing your pride and leaving the ego at the door.  Listen to their problems and let them vent.  Take notes.  This is not the time to argue but to gather facts and perceptions from their point of view. Prepare for a tough listen.

If senior leadership has a good relationship with your team then move onto confirming their vision of the service experience.  [click to continue »]

Technically Transparent Worship: Troubleshooting (Part 5)

Part 5 of 6 in the series Technically Transparent Worship

After working over 15 years in the technical field, I am a firm believer that Satan inhabits electronics. If anything can go wrong with electronics, it usually happens at the worst possible time! Stuff happens and how we deal with it, both during the event and after, define our ministry walk. No one likes sullen or mean people, and as this is a ministry, there’s no room for such behavior.

Here are my rules for working and surviving as a tech lead;

1. Have a sense of humor. Take the work seriously but don’t take yourself seriously.

2. Complaints from anyone outside of the tech team, is handled by the complaint department (ME). [click to continue »]

Technically Transparent Worship: Practice (Part 4)

Part 4 of 6 in the series Technically Transparent Worship

“Practice Makes Perfect.” “How do you get to Broadway? Practice, practice, practice!” I’m sure you’ve heard those before. If you don’t practice you won’t get better. Period. There are few people who don’t need to practice their craft. Chances are good you aren’t one of them.

Good practice begets good worship. Bad practice begets bad worship. Just because the worship team and a few tech folks get together for an hour a week doesn’t mean they are ready for Sunday.

As the father of a rather exuberant teenager, the husband of a wife with leukemia, and one trying to run a full-time ministry, I know how hard it is to carve time out for a proper practice. [click to continue »]

Technically Transparent Worship: Plan For It (Part 2)

planningmeeting
Part 2 of 6 in the series Technically Transparent Worship

Time for part 2 of developing technically transparent worship; PLANNING.

The best results come when the whole team participates in a brainstorming session, with the pastor acting as the moderator.  Using a whiteboard, for recording ideas, is helpful. There are no wrong ideas at this point. The whole object is just to get things down in writing.

Brainstorming sessions generate seeds

I’ve been in so many brainstorming sessions where this happens.  We’re all tossing ideas around and then, out of the mess, comes an idea unrelated to any other ideas but ends up being the right one. All because a person said something generating the seed of the final idea. [click to continue »]

Production Planning – Is There Room for God?

garage sign

No.  That’s the answer one can assume when looking at the extensive planning that goes into proper technical church production.  Even audio production planning seems to leave little room for God.  Or, so one might think.  Brian Gowing and I have been involved in church audio production for decades and we’ve found one thing to be true of production planning; the more planning, the more room for God.

I’ll start with Brian’s thoughts on this, or better yet, his story.

Brian:

“Only God can change hearts. But, He expects us to give him our utmost, for His Highest.  This is why proper planning and execution are essential to allowing God to reach out and touch those hearts that, may or may not, be prepared to be touched.Let me give you a very personal experience about this. [click to continue »]

Does Your Congregation Experience Technically Transparent Worship? (Part 1)

worshipper
Part 1 of 6 in the series Technically Transparent Worship

What is technically transparent worship? I’m not the first to use the term. I’ve been thinking about this lately, having visited a number of churches and observing how they handle a service.

Technically transparent worship means someone coming into your church for either the first or the 1,000th time will not encounter technical or artistic issues that interfere with providing them a total, enveloping, immersive worship experience that prepares their mind and soul to be impacted by God. This is an ideal or a mission statement, if you will.

Too many times, I see churches say they want to do this but don’t want to go through the planning pains necessary to achieve this goal. [click to continue »]

Top Audio Production Highlights From 2013

Will you make 2014 better than 2013?

Was 2013 your year for upgrading to a digital mixer?  Or, was it a year of struggling with old equipment?  Looking back on 2013, I’ve had a lot of great times and a few I’d rather forget.  In the spirit of reflection, here is a list of audio production “tops” from 2013.

My Favorite Quote:

  • Wes Wakefield on mixing; “Fundamental mixing techniques win every time.”

My Favorite Live Audio Post

The Top Two Articles You Should Have Read But Probably Didn’t

The Top Ten Most Popular Articles, here at BTM, Written in 2013

How to Show Teen Volunteers the Importance of Tech Production

How to Show Teen Volunteers the Importance of Tech Production

“How do I make teens understand the importance of what we do?”  I read this question some months ago and it stayed with me.  Recruiting new tech volunteers usually requires looking to those in high school and maybe even middle school.  But the problem is they *can* be the first to flake out, drop out, and, in short, view tech production with less respect than it deserves.  And it wasn’t until a few days ago when I felt I finally had a good answer to this question.

Starting a Youth Service

My daughter, Maria, is involved with a local church youth group and this group usually meets on Sunday evenings.  [click to continue »]