Monthly Archives: November 2014

The holidays are upon us… and no-one to lead worship!

In a small church like ours we often have the situation over the Christmas holidays where everyone is away on vacation and there are very few individuals available to serve in our worship team.

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Try and get everyone to put their leave into your worship planning system (which should be MindMyMinistry!) so you have  an idea of who is available, and when.
  2. As a music director or worship leader, think about the essential elements in your worship band – do you really need a keyboard player, guitarist, drummer or bassist to make things sound good?  Could you cut down and have a purely acoustic set?
  3. Adjust the songs on your setlist – many songs can be done with only a few instruments and still sound great, but others can be a disaster.
  4. Talk to your community!  Often there are other churches nearby who have “spare” musicians who don’t mind to play in neighbouring churches.  Talk to your band members, they may “know a guy who knows a guy”.

 

When gear breaks – averting disaster in a worship set

Some of us have been here – it’s the third song in the set, there is an atmosphere, people are deep in worship, and suddenly the main vocal monitor gives a hiss and a pop and vanishes from the aural landscape…

Luckily in our case the example above occurred in the rehearsal before the service, but here are some quick ideas for how a worship set could be rescued by thinking on your feet.  Feel free to comment on your own disasters and how you managed to pull through!

Breaking a guitar string

I’m not a guitarist, but apparently if you do break a string in the middle of a set, your best bet is often to stop playing altogether as the change in tension on the guitar will usually affect the tuning of the other strings.  Having a backup guitar is great, but not always an option in a worship setting.

Loss of monitoring/front-of-house sound

With sound, quite a lot can go wrong.  Cables can have intermittent faults, amplifiers can overheat and shut down, your sound guy might be having a bad day… The list goes on.  Normally loss of monitors would mean loss of front-of-house sound too, unless the problem is between the mixing desk and the monitors (or amplifiers).  In my experience (I’ve done church sound for a few years), most problems happen before they even hit the mixing desk – and unfortunately that means you’ve got no sound at all, monitoring or otherwise.

If it’s a vocal mic that has failed, you could swap mics so that your lead singer has a working mic.  A dead mic for a backing vocal may not be a huge problem.  A dead DI box or cables failing for guitars or the bass may be a problem – but depending on the situation you could just keep playing and very few people would notice.

Loss of lyrics/projection

Projectors can fail, PC’s can crash… Windows can install automatic updates without being asked…  When your lyric display goes away, the congregation will have trouble following along unless your set is filled with many well known songs.  Sometimes some prompts by the worship leader can help the congregation follow along – eg. in the lead-up before a verse or a chorus the worship leader could just call out the first few words of the verse or chorus – this will help many churchgoers back into the groove of the song.  If you are able, a quick change of the setlist may help a lot, substituting more well known songs (perhaps swapping around the order of the songs hoping that the projection comes alive again).

 

With a few people around that can think on their feet, even a major disaster in the middle of a set may not end up causing disruption to a church service.  Be creative, smile, and move on!

 

Keeping a uniform sound – how to keep multiple bands in sync

Often the case in churches, there are 2 or more bands in the worship team which rotate from service to service.

Churches all have different worship styles which normally stem from the roots of your church.  Some are conservative and some are more charismatic. For example, our church doesn’t have a specific denomination, so we sing a variety of songs – some traditional and some more modern. In our church, we have 2 bands in our worship team and even though we sing the same songs, each band has their own style. Each band also interprets different songs in different ways.

But how do you keep a uniform sounds so that the congregation doesn’t feel as if they are in a different church every week?

MindMyMinistry has a pretty good solution. It shows past and future events which all team members can access. The worship leader of any band in the team can have a look at the songs done by the other band(s) and also the songs that will be done in future events and use that information when drawing up a new set list for the band. In your song list, there are columns indicating how often songs have been played. This helps a lot to keep track of songs that might have been slightly over-played and others that might have been forgotten and need some dusting off.

Another tip that helps to get  a uniform sound is to have combined band practices every once in a while, so that the band members can work on new songs together as a worship team. This helps the team to stay connected and to grow as a unit in Christ to lead your church in praise and worship.