Get Behind The Board

A Call-To-Action For Worship Leaders

In an effort to become better worship leaders, many of us have adopted practices and routines that manifest themselves in mid-week planning, preparation before our gatherings, and certainly on-stage behaviors. We make sure to memorize the songs we are leading, use online hosting to schedule our bands, and make sure to engage with the songs and equip our congregation to sing during our gatherings.

All of those practices are valuable, and can be incredibly effective, but I would add that we might be able to gain immensely from simply stepping down from the stage and sitting behind the soundboard periodically, should our environment allow it. By acquainting yourself with the task of running sound during your gatherings, you’ll be accomplishing far more than just giving your sound engineers a break, perhaps in ways that you’ve never considered before.

Here are a few reasons why every worship leader should try to run sound from time to time:

1. Your relationship with your sound engineers will improve.

Unfortunately, worship leaders are often some of the biggest jerks towards sound engineers in the musical community. We simply don’t express our appreciation enough, and often go even further by treating our sound engineers as less than the kind, often volunteer, essential parts of our teams that they are. By stepping into their shoes for a gathering every so often, we remind ourselves of how important, and frankly, difficult their job is. This has practical consequences because it reminds us, firstly, to always thank our sound engineers for the work that they do, and secondly, to always treat them with as much or more appreciation, patience, and respect as we would any member of our worship team.

2. You’ll understand your band’s sound on a deeper level.

By running sound, you’ll have to think analytically and constructively about the sound of your worship team in ways that you’d never have to as a worship leader. You’ll inevitably become more concerned about how the parts of your band fit together, how each instrument modulates their volume levels throughout the course of each song, and the unique timbres that each member of your team contributes can combine to form an effective mix.

3. You’ll be able to gain a new perspective on the way that you lead.

By removing the lens of being the worship leader from the way that you view your gatherings, you’ll be able to see the way your music manifests itself in a more objective light. Are the songs that your band sings really in a key that your congregation can’t reach? Are the arrangements conducive to singing, or are they a hindrance? By running sound, you’ll have a better opportunity to see the music in your gatherings for what it actually is, without being clouded by your ideals of creative expression. You’ll be able to understand what actually works and what doesn’t more clearly than you would if you were also focused on executing the song properly and inviting people to sing.

If running sound occasionally would only help your relationship with your sound engineers, then that alone would be reason enough to do it. Honestly, the reflective elements of running sound, though valuable, are really just icing.  The reality is that if you run sound, you’ll lead more effectively and with more synergism than you did before.

So get behind the board. 

Ian