I’ve been told recently, in response to a comment about a certain technology problem I was having, that if we live by technology, we’re gonna die by technology. Now it’s true that the church in the past 20-30 years has moved to rely more and more on technology; not only in worship styles, but for preaching styles (film clips, headset mics, image magnification) welcome and greeting information (kiosks) and of course, IT. But I’m going to focus more on relying on technology for worship. Yes, we rely heavily on it. Our music style involves electric and acoustic guitars, piano :), synthesizers, drums, percussion, wireless microphones, theatrical lighting, and projection. It’s safe to say that our worship style is contemporary, and yes, a power failure would significantly alter our Sunday morning programming (even the piano)!
So why do I bring this up? I had the privilege of attending worship at a very traditional style church. Wonderful choir, piano and organ. Here’s the problem. They too are living and dying by technology, but not in a way that is helping. One thing that even traditional style churches forget is that even though programming may consist of piano, organ, choir and maybe orchestra, eventually you’re going to want someone to stand in front and say “Stand a sing with us!” As soon as 500, 750, 1000, 2000 people begin singing, you now have an AMPLIFICATION problem. It doesn’t matter what style of worship your church has. If you’re unable to reproduce the music accurately, how can your congregation hear to sing along?
One answer maybe: “They did it hundreds of years ago. And what about those huge cathedrals in Europe!” True. True. Here’s the rub. The pastor wants to be heard, and doesn’t have the voice to shout. So you have to put a mic on him. It’s no longer good enough to create a worship space that has acoustics for unamplified orchestral and choral performance. We now require microphones for the spoken word. As soon as you have ONE microphone, you need a room with acoustics that support a sound system, not compete with it.
And don’t forget about your engineer! Over half of most sound system problems can be solved by utilizing proficient sound engineers. These guys need to be trained and valued, and have sufficient ears to handle your Sunday morning programming.