Role of an Audio Director: Help to Shepherd Each Member of Your Team

Role of an Audio Director: Help to Shepherd Each Member of Your Team

The members of my team are not there to serve me, and to make my job easier. I am trying to train and equip them as best as possible to do the job of mixing.

One of the main reasons that becoming really good at mixing is crucial, is so that you are able to teach it to those other members on your team.

If God's not at the core of what I'm doing, then I don't need to be doing it.

If you are not able to teach what you know or do, to another member of your team, such as using compression or effects, that should be an obvious sign to you that you really don't understand those areas well yourself.

If that's the case, that's OK, as it just means that you must go out and learn more.  There are so many great resources available today, that there is no reason to not learn.

In addition, it's very important for you to listen to the original recordings of the songs that the band is trying to do. How are going to know what parts are what, and how loud they need to be if you don't even know the song in the first place?

Your goal should be and try to mimic that mic with what you have onstage. It's OK if you don't reach your goal, but it's important to strive for it. For whatever reason, most church musicians and engineers do not listen to the songs or style of music they do on Sundays, which often results in the music not sounding like the recordings, which can very disheartening for those who love those songs. At our church, we made a playlist of all the songs that our band would do. From there, we would play those songs in between services, so that everyone would become more familiar with the music.

There are many different philosophies regarding tech teams and what the role of volunteers are versus paid staff, so I thought I would go ahead and share what my philosophies are. As a full-time staff member who oversaw audio for the church, I viewed my role to serve and help those on my team. I wanted to set them up to succeed, and when they failed, most of the time it was because I did not set them up to succeed.

The members of my team are not there to serve me, and to make my job easier. I am trying to train and equip them as best as possible to do the job of mixing. So, when they have a great mix or a flawless service, I can rejoice with them, because they are serving as a response to God and who he is. Not because I nagged or begged, or guilt tripped them into joining the team.

I also believe we should help shepherd each member of our team spiritually. We should be pushing and encouraging them toward God. I know that not everyone thinks this way, and some think this is not their role, who might have the perception that those members should be getting that from small groups at the church, such as bible studies.

While that might be your perception, what do you do when a member of your team has their spouse leave them, or when they lose their job, or a child of theirs suddenly dies, or they get diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, or a member of your team dies a sudden death?

Each of these things have happened to various individuals who have been on my teams over the years. 

At that moment, that's when you see that a mix is not very important by comparison.

That's when you realize that you better have a relationship built around God with them, not just about getting the job done.

About 20 years ago, when I was 22, I was put over the audio ministry of my church. The church was shifting from a traditional choir driven service, to one with a full band. The people who had been coordinating it week after week didn't want to be a part of the team anymore, burned out from years of being always on each week.

The worship pastor was a friend of mine and asked me to come in and take over and train some guys. I jumped at the chance, and grabbed two young guys from the college class that I had already been working with.

Fast forward a year, as these two guys were fast learners, and doing great. Even so, I'm noticing some spiritual issues with our team, and realized that after working side by side for a year on the task of mixing, I had never talked with them about their or my relationship with God.

When I decided to bring the topic up, it was completely weird and strange for me and them to start talking about some spiritual problems I was seeing with the team. We had become prideful and arrogant from trying to prove ourselves and convince people we knew what we were doing.

This proved to be an awakening for me, as I realized that I could not separate God from anything I was doing. If He's not at the core of what I'm doing, then I don't need to be doing it.

When I got hired at Blue Ridge, they had some great things for people to get involved in, but it wasn't a great fit for everyone, especially the introverts on my tech team. There was a group of people who just seemed to be getting left out, so I started a weekly bible study at my house, for the tech team and the band. This was a way for us to get into God's word together and grow together, and know how to pray for each other. Not everyone could make it or maybe even wanted to go, but they knew that it was an option for them and it let them know that being in God's word together was important to me.

In our Sunday morning prayer time, I would share the things I was learning in God's word, and the people that I was sharing Christ with. This also made it a lot easier when you must have a difficult conversation with people on your team, because they know you really care about them and that you are following God with how you live.

There is something truly powerful about opening your home and your life to people on your team, inviting them to be a part of it. Not just seeing them when they are scheduled to serve. Once again this is a part of leading by example, don't tell people to do things you are not doing.

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