I’ve been concerned with our paradigm toward church sound operators for quite some time. We’ve often treated our sound man as managing a utility rather than a vital minister of our worship services. Sound ministry acts as the communication bridge between the platform and the congregation, and thus all words and music pass through the hands of the mixer, which can be manipulated for better or for worse. This level of control is concerning, and just one reason to place a Spirit-filled, seasoned Christian in the booth. Sadly, as sound people we have the danger of making this position about ourselves, mixing according to what we prefer and not what is actually happening spiritually in the room. We must learn to become sensitive to the move of the Holy Ghost and mix accordingly. On the contrary, if we run sound according to the flesh and serve ourselves rather than the Lord, we run the danger of manipulating people’s emotions. The Lord might move as a calm breeze in some moments, and other times a mighty rushing wind. There are moments of deep intercession and moments of joy and celebration. Worship is extremely dynamic, and the Lord works on our lives in a dynamic way. Our worship music and approach to mixing should reflect that environment.
My concern is that we’ve approached the sound ministry more like flipping a few light switches or setting up a computer network as opposed to the artistic, musical, worship-centered approach I believe it deserves. Being effective at mixing worship music requires a musical ear and a love for music. It requires a sensitivity to the spiritual climate of the congregation and a proactive approach to worship. The best sound operators think like a worship leader. Our approach should not be reactionary or we will often miss a cue; but we should strive to be proactive in our worship services, anticipating what will happen next while serving our congregation in worship.
Vito Di Giovanni is an instructor at Indiana Bible College. For audio consultation and training email firstname.lastname@example.org