Tech Gossip: What Others Hear You Say

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Tech Gossip: What Others Hear You Say

Gossip or inspiration? Your choice.
Photo provided by quinnanya

The topic of gossip isn’t one you’d expect to see on a church audio blog.  Then again, it’s not one I expected to write. Back in December, I was sitting in a coffee shop and reflecting on the different churches where I’d been involved in audio production.  I remembered the struggles I’d had with equipment and occasionally with people. And I remembered the words I’d muttered to my cohorts within the sound booth. That is to say, the words I shouldn’t have said.

Was I gossiping? Not in the way gossip is usually portrayed.  I wasn’t saying stuff like “I heard that so-and-so is…” It was usually something regarding the skill level of a band member.  And not in a good way.  Was I then gossiping?  Yes.

Wikipedia has a wonderful phrase concerning gossip; “It is one of the oldest and most common means of sharing facts, views and slander.”  Views, rather right or wrong, aren’t always something you need to give without asking. Let’s dig a bit further into this.

The sound booth is located within the church sanctuary.  People can see you work.  They can also hear you talk.  They can hear you give your view of the drummer’s ego before the service.  They can hear you complain about the gear during the service when things go wrong.  They can hear you complain about the lack of planning regarding the Sunday service.

If you were a first time visitor, how would such talk affect your view of that church?  What if this was your first time ever attending a church?  Would such actions of a production team member be a good reflection of God’s love?

But I Have Good Reason to Complain!

Let’s be honest, audio production can be stressful and there are times I’ve wanted to put a musician into a garbage can.  You need to blow off a bit of steam.  You need to vent your frustrations.  But is doing that in front of others the best time to do it?  Ask yourself this question; “are my frustrations always valid?”  (Wow, I sound like my wife – but that’s a good thing.)

Love, Compassion, and Responsibility

Working behind the mixer, you want the musicians to give you their best sounds and you want them playing to the best of their ability – sometimes you wish they had more ability.  You can’t create a wonderful sound if they don’t give wonderful music.  But not all musicians are professionals.  Not all singers have had vocal training.  Not all worship leaders know how to arrange songs. And what about those scheduling nightmares where you don’t even get a schedule?  Don’t those people know how important that is?  But those people also have families and other responsibilities.  And life events sometimes make doing the smallest things seem like a chore.

Some of the audio techs I respect the most are those who know how to show love and compassion.  They aren’t quick pass judgment or to pass on their views of a situation, especially in the heat of the moment.  They treat everyone they see with love and compassion.  Will they later blow off a little steam? Some do and some don’t.

The responsibility portion of all of this comes down to loving the people, showing compassion, and respecting the reverence of the church service.  It took me a while to learn that lesson but once I did, I was the better tool of Christ.

Dealing with Frustrations

I’m not saying it’s bad to vent to your fellow techs.  I am saying you need to consider the time and place for such venting.  I’m also saying that the older I get, the less that frustrates me.  For example, if a singer gets a bit pitchy in a song or I miss a mic cue, that frustrates me.  At the same time, if the congregation was really into the worship that day and they weren’t affected by those issues, then it was a good church service for them and that’s what counts.

Consider your Criticisms: Take Action or Let It Go

Every criticism you have of a worship musician, fellow tech, church staff, or even the pastor should give you pause to ask the question, “what action can I take to improve this situation?”  List out your frustrations.  Review this and look for actions you can take.  Would a short conversation with a person help the problem?  Do you need to teach someone how to do something?  Do you need to let it go?  There are things that bug me to no end but ultimately, they are out of my control.  Talking about them, especially in front of others when I’m in the sound booth, won’t help anyone and will only shed a negative light on the person or the situation.  And the older I get, the easier it is to accept those things and let them go.

The Take Away

Church gossip is thought of as talking about people regarding things that may or may not be true and doing so to cast a bad light on them.  Tech gossip can be thought of as giving negative views on people, situations, and even your particular church, while working in a church ministry.  The walls around the sound booth don’t stop the sound of your words.  But they do give you good reason to consider your words before you speak them.

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Comments

  1. Chris Reid says

    This has been a blessing to me. There are so many times I’ve complained about the scheduling and planning, or lack thereof, at my church especially when it comes to large events, but really, my complaining doesn’t change or fix anything. This part really touch me was when you said; responsibility portion of all of this comes down to loving the people, showing compassion, and respecting the reverence of the church service. Thank you

  2. marcellin owen says

    Letting go is probably my hardest task. I am no longer the sound guy for my church i passed the baton on to my cousin. Even though he is competent he does some strange things that is so anti worship. Ialways find myself talking about it. Thank you for the insight i really do need to let it go.

  3. Tiffany says

    This is a really good topic for me to think about. There are so many times I’ve complained about the scheduling and planning, or lack thereof, at my church especially when it comes to large events, but really, my complaining doesn’t change or fix anything. In fact, this is most definitely one of those areas that is out of my control and in all actuality, some times not have a minute-by-minute plan makes more room for God to show up in ways He might not have had we had everything planned out perfectly.

    • says

      Tiffany, I love what you said, “some times not have a minute-by-minute plan makes more room for God to show up in ways He might not have had we had everything planned out perfectly.”

      • Quaid says

        Something I don’t care for is “micromanaging” things. It can quench the Holy Spirit. Proper organization is one thing.. God is not the author of confusion.
        But, in my view, things can be so organized that it actually causes more chaos, compared to if people relax and work “on the fly”. The world isn’t going to end if everyone doesn’t have the order of events, the names of every song, the color of a guitarist’s socks, a copy of a 10 second phrase that a singer will say to introduce a particular song.
        A soundman should be “on the ball”: the sky isn’t falling on chicken little if a singer gives a testimony, then the group tags a song.
        Do we really leave room for God to work, when the songs and the sermons are planned 2-3 months in advance? The truth is, no, we don’t totally depend on Him. We organize so “well” that we neglect to give God room to do what He wants, like He needs our permission to do things in the way that He wants it done.

        • says

          I agree with you @Quiad, I have found that you have to be on top of everything that happens. As I was taught you ALWAYS want to be one step before everyone else. This saves you from the mistakes you could make by not being ready and have the whole congregation turn around and lose focus one what is happening. As Audio techs we MUST take every effort in making sure that we don’t take the attention away from God.

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